iOS 17.3 is now available with Stolen Device Protection and more

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Apple’s latest major updates for iPhones and iPads, iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3, were released today and are now available for download. There are a bunch of new features coming in iOS 17.3, with the most notable one being Stolen Device Protection. Nearly a year after Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal exclusively reported on how an iPhone password could be used to hijack a person’s digital life, Stolen Device Protection is the fix.

Aside from the headlining feature, iOS 17.3 also includes the 2024 Black Unity collection that Apple announced earlier this week in advance of Black History Month. The update also includes support for collaborative playlists in Apple Music, AirPlay via hotel TVs, and enhanced Crash Detection. Some of the features, such as Stolen Device Protection, are only available on iPhones. Others, like collaborative Apple Music playlists, can also be used on iPads that have the latest software update.

What’s now available in iOS 17.3

Stolen Device Protection is an optional feature that can be enabled in the Settings app. The first time you unlock your phone after installing iOS 17.3, there will be a prompt asking you if you’d like to set up Stolen Device Protection. Essentially, this feature makes it harder for thieves to change your Apple ID password and steal your account. When you’re away from known locations, biometric authorization is required for things like changing a password. So, the feature won’t stop users from changing their settings at home. It might require biometrics from making changes in other places, though.

Collaborative Apple Music playlists have been available in beta for a while, but they’re finally part of the public release. This feature lets multiple Apple Music users contribute to singular playlist. Everyone invited to the playlist can edit, add, and reorder songs. Users can also leave reactions to a song within a playlist. This is a nice feature for Apple Music users that put the service closer in functionality to Spotify. Well, at least where collaboration is concerned.

AirPlay for hotel TVs will be useful for sharing content while traveling, but you’ll need a hotel that supports it first. Apple says that IHG Hotels & Resorts, the company behind Holiday Inn and the Crowne Plaza hotels, will be first to support the feature. But, it’ll probably take time for it to reach the breadth of individual hotels under the brand. When it does work, the process is seamless. Users will need to scan a QR code on the hotel TV instead of trying to find the right TV in their AirPlay settings.

How to download and install the update

To download the update, open the Settings app on your iPhone and navigate to General > Software Update. Tap the Download & Install button when you see iOS 17.3 appear. After that, simply wait for the download to finish and the installation to begin. Your device will restart at least once, and you shouldn’t interrupt the install process. Keeping the phone connected to power is a good idea as well. Then, you’ll be running the latest version of your iPhone’s software.

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