Below is the January 24th update. This article was initially shared on January 22, 2024.
The new iPhone update has had quite a tumultuous journey but is finally here, and right on time as well. Apple iOS 17.3 introduces a major feature that was an unexpected surprise until recently, Stolen Device Protection, integrates something that has long been assured, AirPlay for hotel TVs, and more. Here’s everything you need to understand.
Which iPhones Can Run iOS 17.3?
Similar to other iOS 17 launches, you require an iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, or iPhone XR from 2018, or any model of iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, and iPhone 15 variants. It also encompasses iPhone SE second- and third-generation models.
How To Obtain It
Uncover the Settings app on the iPhone, select General, then Software Update. Here, you’ll see sections on Automatic Updates, and Beta Updates. Regardless of your choice to enable or disable automatic updates, you can decide to fetch the new software now, and that’s usually the decision to make. Choose Download and Install, and your iPhone will be upgraded in no time.
What’s In The Release
This release includes a significant number of features. To begin with, there is the major new feature, Stolen Device Protection. If your iPhone is stolen, that’s quite unfortunate, but even worse if the thief knows your passcode, possibly because they watched you input it. Thieves can change the passcode, input their own biometrics, and lock you out while they drain your bank account, for example. This new feature requires Face ID or Touch ID access for many functions in the phone, rather than the passcode. These functions include turning off Lost Mode, erasing the iPhone, accessing passwords, and more. For highly sensitive changes, like changing the password, this new feature causes a security delay of one hour if the iPhone is not in a familiar location. These actions include adding biometrics or disabling Find My. While thieves might still find a way in, this new feature significantly enhances the security of the iPhone if it’s stolen. You can find more information about this feature here.
Unity Bloom Wallpaper, part of this year’s Black Unity initiative, is accessible for the iPhone and iPad lock screens, with blossoming flowers.
AirPlay hotel support has been pledged for a while, and it’s finally here. In specific hotels, you’ll be able to stream content to your room’s TV.
Collaborative playlists means that you can invite friends to join your playlists, and emojis can be added as reactions to any track in such a playlist.
Crash detection has been optimized for iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models.
Finally, the Apple Care and Warranty feature displays your coverage for all devices in Settings.
In other words, it’s a significant update.
Apple has complete release notes accessible on its website here.
The update’s reception has been extremely favorable (you can read my assessment of whether to install it here, with final comments next Tuesday). A large part of that is due to the Stolen Device Protection feature, which has captured the imagination. Rightfully so, as it’s an influential extra layer of security for the iPhone. Hopefully, the fact that it’s called Device Protection rather than iPhone Protection suggests that Apple is considering expanding it to devices like the iPad in the future. As you know, many limitations apply to what you can do with your iPhone unless you’re in a “familiar location”. YouTuber Brandon Butch has been testing exactly what qualifies as a familiar location. He said, “I have tested this in 3 different locations that I’d assume are logged in my ‘significant locations’ and the feature did not detect them as ‘familiar’—so they appear not to be 1:1 correlated. This is good, but further clarification from Apple would be nice.” More on this as we have it.
The security features of iOS 17.3 aren’t just limited to Stolen Device Protection, though. There are also 16 security issues, at least one of which Apple believes was already public and being exploited—which could be a compelling reason to update to the new software. The other 15 are also important—you can find detailed information from Forbes contributor Kate O’Flaherty here.
Follow me on Twitter.