How to Use Stolen Device Protection iOS 17.3

Stolen Device Protection iOS 17.3 is an important security feature introduced in iOS 17 that helps protect your iPhone if it is ever lost or stolen. With Stolen Device Protection enabled, you can put your device into a locked state remotely to prevent unauthorized access. This feature allows you to buy time to track and locate your missing device, or remotely erase it if needed.

In this article, I’ll explain what Stolen Device Protection is, how it works, and walk you through how to set it up and use it on your iPhone running iOS 17.3.

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What is Stolen Device Protection?

Stolen Device Protection is an iOS security feature that makes it more difficult for someone to misuse or access personal information on a lost or stolen iPhone.

When enabled, it requires the iPhone to be unlocked with your passcode/Face ID/Touch ID before critical device settings can be changed. This includes actions like erasing the device, turning off Find My iPhone, or resetting password hints.

Stolen Device Protection also introduces optional security delays when trying to turn the feature itself off. This prevents a thief from quickly disabling it if they gain possession of your unlocked phone.

Overall, it provides an extra layer of security and gives you more time to track and remotely lock or erase your device if it lands in the wrong hands.

How Does Stolen Device Protection Work?

When enabled, Stolen Device Protection leverages your device’s location services and internet connection to determine whether it is in a “familiar” location. Familiar locations include places like your home, workplace, or other frequently visited spots where you regularly use your device.

If your iPhone is determined to not be in a familiar location based on past GPS and internet usage patterns, Stolen Device Protection will require your device passcode to be entered before critical settings can be changed.

This essentially prevents a thief or finder from modifying settings to gain access to personal data and accounts on the device.

Additionally, you can enable an optional security delay that must be waited out before Stolen Device Protection itself can be turned off after the phone is unlocked. This delay can be set to various lengths up to an hour, buying you time to remotely lock or wipe the device.

What Requirements for Using Stolen Device Protection

To use Stolen Device Protection, you need:

  • An iPhone model that supports iOS 17 or later
  • iOS 17.3 or newer
  • A passcode set up for your device
  • Face ID or Touch ID enabled
  • Find My iPhone turned on
  • Location Services enabled for Find My iPhone

You’ll also need to make sure your device has connectivity to cellular or WiFi so that its location can be checked periodically.

How to Set Up Stolen Device Protection

Setting up Stolen Device Protection is simple and takes just a few steps. Here’s how to enable it:

Step#1.Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

Step#2.Tap on Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode if you have an iPhone with a Home button).

Step#3.Enter your device passcode.

Step#4.Scroll down and tap on Stolen Device Protection.

Step#5.Tap Turn on Protection.

That’s it! Stolen Device Protection is now activated and will secure your device if it’s ever lost or stolen.

You can verify it’s enabled by looking for the “Stolen Device Protection Enabled” message under the feature’s toggle.

Optional: Enabling Security Delay

In addition to basic Stolen Device Protection, you can enable an optional security delay that must be waited out before Stolen Device Protection can be disabled after your device is unlocked.

This delay prevents a thief from simply turning the feature off immediately after gaining access to your unlocked phone.

To enable it:

Step#1.Follow steps 1-4 above to access the Stolen Device Protection settings.

Step#2.Under “Security Delay”, choose your desired delay length. Options range from immediately to 1 hour.

Step#3.Tap Turn On next to Security Delay to enable it.

The longer the security delay, the more time you’ll have to remotely lock or wipe your device in case it’s stolen. But note a longer delay also means you’ll have to wait if you ever need to disable Stolen Device Protection yourself after losing your iPhone.

What Happens When Your Lost/Stolen iPhone is Found?

If your iPhone with Stolen Device Protection enabled is lost or stolen, here’s what you can expect:

  • If the device is unlocked and Stolen Device Protection recognizes it’s not in a familiar location, most settings changes will be blocked until the device passcode is entered.
  • If a security delay is also enabled, the thief will be forced to wait out the delay time after entering the passcode before being able to turn off Stolen Device Protection.
  • You’ll get notified by Find My iPhone if an AirPlay or AirDrop connection is attempted on your stolen device, allowing you to track its location.
  • If you put your device in Lost Mode via Find My iPhone, the thief will be blocked from using it until you remove Lost Mode with your Apple ID password.
  • If you remotely erase the device, after the wipe completes, the thief will reach the activation lock screen and have to enter your Apple ID password, which they won’t know, to use the device again. This permanently locks them out.

So in summary, Stolen Device Protection kicks in automatically based on location and buys you time to track and secure your iPhone remotely. It provides important protection you hope to never need but is invaluable if your device is ever lost or stolen.

When to Turn Off Stolen Device Protection

Stolen Device Protection is designed to stay enabled round the clock to protect your iPhone. But there are a few scenarios where you may want to temporarily disable it:

  • If you lend your device to a friend or family member you trust. The security delay and location lockout could inconveniently disable features for them.
  • If traveling internationally without your phone on you. It could lock security settings when used remotely in an unfamiliar location.
  • If your iPhone is safely at home but Find My iPhone location inaccurately flags it as missing. This could trigger needless passcode prompts.
  • If selling or gifting your device. You’ll want to turn off all lockout protections before transferring ownership.

In these cases, just make sure to turn Stolen Device Protection back on as soon as possible for maximum security.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about using Stolen Device Protection:

Does Stolen Device Protection work if my iPhone is offline?

No, the device needs an internet connection via WiFi or cellular data to check its location and enable protections. Offline devices can’t leverage the feature.

What happens if I forget my device passcode?

You’ll need to completely erase and restore your iPhone to use it again without your passcode, which will disable Stolen Device Protection in the process. This is why remembering your passcode is critical.

Can I track my iPhone if the battery dies?

No, a dead battery disables any connectivity required for Find My iPhone location services to work. Keep your device charged as much as possible.

Will Stolen Device Protection protect my iPhone if I leave it in a car?

Only if your car is a location your phone recognizes as familiar based on GPS and usage history. Don’t rely on it to secure devices left in unfamiliar locations.

Can thieves still reset or update my iPhone if Stolen Device Protection is on?

Yes, they can erase and reinstall iOS, but your device will remain activation locked until your Apple ID password is entered to use it again.


Stolen Device Protection provides important security for your iPhone that was not possible before iOS 17. By leveraging your device’s location history and requiring passcodes, it makes stolen iPhones nearly impossible to use or sell.

Be sure to follow the setup and usage tips outlined in this guide. Stolen Device Protection adds peace of mind that your phone – and the valuable personal data on it – will remain secure even if lost or taken. Though costly to replace, a stolen iPhone protected by this feature becomes nothing more than a worthless brick to thieves.

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