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iPhone Gaining Protections Against Phone Thieves That Know Your Passcode

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Dec 12, 2023, 2:50 PM   by Rich Brome

The new beta version of iOS rolling out today includes a new feature called Stolen Device Protection, designed specifically to help iPhone owners retain control of their online accounts after their phone is stolen, even in cases where the thief knows the phone's passcode. Because a passcode can serve a fallback when biometric unlocking fails, thieves can use it to unlock a stolen phone and change the Apple ID password, prevent password resets, block Find My features, and access saved passwords for third-party apps, including some banking and financial apps. The new feature — which is optional and turned off by default — requires two successful biometric scans one hour apart to make those critical changes, and does not accept the passcode as a fallback. The extra protections apply only when the phone is away from known locations like "home" or "work". The new feature should help prevent thieves from causing financial damage beyond the stolen phone, but also make this particular type of phone theft less attractive as more people enable this feature.

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