The most notable new feature in iOS 17.3 is Stolen Device Protection. “This new feature adds an additional layer of security in the unlikely case that someone has stolen your phone and also obtained your passcode,” Apple explains.
The addition of Stolen Device Protection follows excellent reporting from Joanna Stern and Nicole Nguyen. Writing at The Wall Street Journal, Stern and Nguyen, extensively reported the growing trend of thieves shoulder-surfing iPhone users to watch them enter their passcode in places like bars and restaurants. Those thieves would then steal the victim’s iPhone and use the passcode to do things like change their Apple ID password, access banking apps, and more.
Stolen Device Protection, which is an opt-in feature in iOS 17.3, attempts to counter those thieves by putting new restrictions in place on how powerful your iPhone passcode actually is.
Accessing your saved passwords requires Face ID to be sure it’s you.
Changing sensitive settings like your Apple ID password is protected by a security delay
No delay is required when the iPhone is at familiar locations such as home and work
Apple Music collaborative playlists
The saga around collaborative playlists in Apple Music continues with iOS 17.3. This feature was initially added in the early betas of iOS 17.2 but was removed by Apple before the update was actually released to the public.
In iOS 17.3, Apple Music collaborative playlists have returned once again. The feature lets you team up with other people to create shared playlists where everyone can contribute songs.
AirPlay in hotels
iOS 17.3 enables the new AirPlay in hotel rooms feature that Apple first announced last year. When at a supporting property, hotel guests will be able to connect an iPhone or iPad to an in-room TV by scanning a unique QR code.
Apple says this feature is available in “select hotels, starting with brands from IHG Hotels & Resorts.”
Back in June, LG – apparently the world’s “leading provider of in-room hotel TVs” – announced that it had worked closely with Apple on the development of these new AirPlay features. LG says that AirPlay will come to its “Pro:Centric Smart Hotel TVs.”
Full iOS 17.3 release notes
Stolen Device Protection
Stolen Device Protection increases security of iPhone and Apple ID by requiring Face ID or Touch ID with no passcode fallback to perform certain actions
Security Delay requires Face ID or Touch ID, an hour wait, and then an additional successful biometric authentication before sensitive operations like changing device passcode or Apple ID password can be performed
New Unity wallpaper honors Black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month
Collaborate on playlists allows you to invite friends to join your playlist and everyone can add, reorder, and remove songs
Emoji reactions can be added to any track in a collaborative playlist
This update also includes the following improvements:
AirPlay hotel support lets you stream content directly to the TV in your room in select hotels
AppleCare & Warranty in Settings shows your coverage for all devices signed in with your Apple ID
Crash detection optimizations (all iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models)