Apple has released iOS 17.3, a major update for the iPhone that introduces some useful new features and enhancements. This update comes about a month after the release of iOS 17.2.
Here is an overview of the key new features and changes in iOS 17.3:
Stolen Device Protection
The most notable new feature in iOS 17.3 is Stolen Device Protection. This feature aims to protect users if their iPhone is stolen by someone who also happens to know/guess their passcode.
Stolen Device Protection adds an extra layer of security by requiring biometric authentication (Face ID or Touch ID) to access sensitive data and make changes to the device. Specifically:
- Accessing passwords stored in iCloud Keychain now requires biometric authentication
- Making changes to Apple ID settings like adding trusted phone numbers requires Face ID/Touch ID
- Turning off Find My iPhone requires biometric authentication
- Erasing content and settings requires Face ID/Touch ID
- Making purchases in Safari using saved payment methods requires biometric authentication
Stolen Device Protection has to be enabled manually in Settings => Face ID & Passcode. It is available on all devices running iOS 17.3.
This feature was likely added in response to reports about iPhone theft rings exploiting stolen passcodes to gain access to personal data. It provides reassurance that even with the passcode, thieves cannot fully compromise an iPhone without also replicating the owner’s biometrics.
Apple Music Collaborative Playlists
iOS 17.3 finally brings the collaborative playlists feature to Apple Music. Multiple people can now edit a shared playlist by adding, reordering or removing songs.
Users can also react to songs in collaborative playlists using emoji. This allows you to easily see which tracks are favorites in the group.
This feature makes Apple Music more social and competitive against Spotify, which has offered collaborative playlists for some time.
In addition to the major changes above, iOS 17.3 includes other notable improvements:
- AirPlay Support for Hotel TVs: You can now directly stream media from your iPhone to supported hotel room TVs.
- AppleCare Status: The Settings app now shows warranty/AppleCare status for all devices linked to your Apple ID.
- Crash Detection Improvements: The crash detection feature on iPhone 14 models has been updated to improve accuracy and performance.
- New Wallpaper: There is a new “Unity” wallpaper celebrating Black history and culture.
iOS 17.3 also fixes several bugs, improves performance, and addresses various security issues.
iOS 17.3 can be installed on any iPhone model going back to the iPhone XS/XR released in 2018. Models before this are not supported.
Users can update to the latest iOS version by going to Settings => General => Software Update. As usual, iOS 17.3 is a free update for compatible devices.
iOS 17.3 is a worthwhile update for most iPhone users thanks to conveniences like Apple Music collaborative playlists and protections like Stolen Device Protection. Upgrading is recommended, especially for those who store sensitive data on their iPhones.
The update shows Apple’s commitment to improving the iOS experience even several months after the initial iOS 17 launch. We can likely expect more useful updates like this through 2024 and the eventual launch of iOS 18.