Apple's latest software update – 17.3 – has an important feature that you need to stop everything you are doing to switch at this moment.
it's called Protect stolen devicesAlthough the specific crime from which it protects may be “rare“, according to Apple, two tech journalists and thousands of victims who lost millions of dollars beg to differ.
“On many weekends, I wake up to emails from victims telling me that this exact thing has happened to them. “They lost decades of photos and life savings, and were shocked that their iPhone wasn't as protected as they thought,” columnist Senior Personal Technology at The Wall Street Journal. Joanna Stern He told me in a phone interview.
Stern and his colleague Nicole Nguyen I spent the last year reporting on a growing crime around the world: thieves are exploiting vulnerabilities in Apple's — and humanity's — software.
Scammers ask someone to reveal their password – they often prey on people in bars and pretend to want to share contacts – or they may film someone unlocking their phone. The moment they get the password, they take the actual phone as well.
By the time victims realize their phones are gone, they have already turned off their devices, and the crime spree is well underway.
“This was a very easy trick. 'Get the passcode, get the phone, get the money,'” Stern explains. “$10,000 is the minimum amount usually taken.” [from one victim], with the maximum being around $50,000 from a single stolen phone. Stern also said that recently, this social engineering crime has targeted an increasing number of seniors.
“We don't know accurate statistics about this [crime]”But I've talked to law enforcement in cities around the world who say, 'This has become a big problem, and we don't know what to do about it,'” Stern adds.
While law enforcement may be unable to slow down this new wave of kidnappings and seizures, the latest by Apple Protect stolen devices The advantage certainly can. “There's nothing to lose if you turn it on,” Stern agrees.
How to activate stolen device protection
Make sure your iPhone is running the latest operating system 17.3. The easiest way to check is to go to Settings > General > Software Update.
From here go to settings. Start by typing “protect stolen device” in the search bar at the top of the screen. You should see the option to click on it immediately. Then Apple says:
Even if you haveAutomatic updates“With the toggle on, you often have to go into your settings and tap on it manually to push it. (I don't know exactly why, but everyone I know has to do this manually, even though they have this feature “turned on”).
- On an iPhone with Face ID: Tap Face ID & Passcode, then enter your passcode.
- On an iPhone with a Home button: Tap Touch ID & Passcode, then enter your passcode.
Scroll down to the Stolen Device Protection section, then tap Turn on Protection.NB: If you don't see the Stolen Device Protection section, you may need to hiring higher Face ID or Contact ID Firstly.
What does this new setting do?
Once this feature is turned on, the thief will not be able to enter and close your account. Your iPhone now requires additional authentication to access some information. It also prevents certain changes if it detects that you are not in a trusted location, such as your home or office.
In this case, Apple notes that you must authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID before you can take certain actions, including:
- Use passwords or passkeys saved in the Keychain
- Use saved payment methods in Safari (Autofill)
- Turn off lost mode
- Erase all content and settings
- Apply for a new Apple Card
- View your virtual Apple Card number
- Take some Apple Cash and Savings actions in Wallet (for example, Apple Cash or savings transfers)
- Use your iPhone to set up a new device (for example, Quick Start)
To make sure your iPhone recognizes friendly locations, go back to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > then scroll down to System Services > Important Locations. Make sure this is “ON”.
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Is there any reason not to use stolen device protection?
The only time it might be difficult to turn this feature on is when you want to get rid of your current phone and upgrade to the next one. You will have to wait an hour before you can make this change.
While none of this is evidence of failure, it is an excellent step to slow this growing crime trend. I hear from a lot of people who think that just because they're using an Apple device, it can't be hacked, stolen, or scammed.
While Apple does better on security than most other companies, it says it “Work tirelessly Every day to protect all our users from new and emerging threats. We — journalists like Stern, and really all of us — need to insist that they stay true to their word that “[Apple] “We will continue to develop protections to help keep user accounts secure.”
Jennifer Jolie He is an Emmy Award-winning consumer technology columnist and on-air correspondent. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USA TODAY. Call her onJJ@Techish.com.
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