Stolen Device Protection essentially acts as a last line of defense against iPhone thieves in possession of your passcode. When activated, your iPhone will require Face ID or Touch ID authentication for sensitive actions like viewing passkeys, erasing content, turning off Lost Mode, and so on. For especially sensitive actions – like changing your Apple ID password or disabling Find My iPhone – Stolen Device Protection requires two instances of biometric authentication; the second coming one hour after the first.
Previously – or rather, currently – only one instance of biometric authentication is required when you perform a sensitive action at a ‘familiar location’, such as home or work. However, according to 9to5Mac, iOS 17.4 will give you the option to enable two-step authentication all the time, regardless of your location.
In other words, you'll soon be able to lock your iPhone into a single state of security; a thief won’t find it any easier to break into your iPhone by obtaining it at a ‘familiar location’. Of course, for convenience, you’ll still have the option to drop that aforementioned two-step requirement down to one if you prefer.
It’s worth noting that Stolen Device Protection isn’t enabled automatically, so read our guide on how to set up Stolen Device Protection on your iPhone if you haven’t already activated the new feature. Still stuck on iOS 16? We’ve got a guide on how to download iOS 17, too.
As for the other features set to be introduced with iOS 17.4, we’re hearing that third-party app stores will soon be allowed on iPhone, as well as true third-party browsers (currently, third-party browsers are little more than reskinned versions of Safari). These changes are expected to arrive with iOS 17.4 in European regions, owing to new EU regulations.
Globally, iOS 17.4 will also reportedly allow game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now to exist as dedicated apps. Right now, the only way to access these services on an iPhone is through a browser, so iOS 17.4 should turn the best iPhones into even better gaming phones.
Podcast transcripts, new emojis, and new language options for Siri are among the other upgrades we’re expecting to see introduced with iOS 17.4, which is tipped to launch in early March.
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Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.