How to activate Stolen Device Protection on your iPhone

Give Your iPhone More Security With Stolen Device Protection

By Abigail Shilets - Staff Writer
1 Min Read

As Joanna Stern and Nicole Nguyen of the Wall Street Journal discovered, if a thief steals your iPhone and gets your passcode, they can easily gain access to your Apple ID and ruin your digital life. So, with iOS 17.3, Apple introduced Stolen Device Protection to thwart such an attack.

What to know about Stolen Device Protection

In the simplest terms, when Stolen Device Protection is enabled and you try to perform certain critical actions in an unfamiliar location, your iPhone requires:

  • Biometric identification, such as Face ID or Touch ID. Entering a passcode is not sufficient.
  • A one-hour Security Delay followed by a second round of biometric authentication.

Here is Apple’s list of actions that trigger Stolen Device Protection:

  • Use passwords or passkeys saved in Keychain
  • Use payment methods saved in Safari (autofill)
  • Turn off Lost Mode
  • Erase all content and settings
  • Apply for a new Apple Card
  • View your Apple Card or Apple Cash virtual card number
  • Take certain 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 be clear, you should enable Stolen Device Protection on your iPhones unless you have a good reason not to. You were probably prompted to enable it when you installed iOS 17.3. If you declined, you can enable it in Settings.

Turn on Stolen Device Protection on iPhone

You can turn on Stolen Device Protection in Settings:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone, then do one of the following:
    • 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.
  2. Scroll down and tap Stolen Device Protection.
  3. Turn on Stolen Device Protection.

Also in Passcode > Stolen Device Protection, you can change the Security Delay so that it’s always required, not just in unfamiliar places, by selecting Always.

Stolen Device Protection not available on your iPhone?

To activate Stolen Device Protection on your iPhone, you must use two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and set up or enable the following on your iPhone: a passcode; Face ID or Touch ID; and Significant Locations (Location Services).
You also need to have Find My turned on, and you can’t turn it off while Stolen Device Protection is enabled.

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By Abigail Shilets Staff Writer
Abigail is a staff writer for GeeksChalk based in Pennsylvania. She covers news, how-tos, and user guides for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. Before becoming a writer Abigail studied computer science at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. When not creating masterpiece for GeeksChalk, you can usually find Abigail hiking, climbing, or otherwise unplugged.
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