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Apr 12, 2001
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The iPhone has quite a few built-in safety features that are designed to help keep you safe, and with New Year's Eve parties approaching, it may be worth a refresher on what your iPhone can do and the options you can enable to protect yourself.

FindMy-Feature.jpg

Stolen Device Protection

Stolen Device Protection keeps your data safe in case someone steals your iPhone and also happens to know your passcode. Earlier this year, there were reports about thieves spying on a victim's passcode before stealing an iPhone, giving them access to Find My, iCloud Keychain passwords, banking accounts, and more.

ios-stolen-device-protection.jpg

With Stolen Device Protection, Face ID or Touch ID authentication is required to view passwords in iCloud Keychain, turn off Lost Mode, erase content and settings, use saved Safari payment methods, and apply for or view an Apple Card. Authentication and an hour-long waiting period is required for changing an Apple ID password, changing an iPhone passcode, removing Face ID/Touch ID, and turning off Find My.

Stolen Device Protection is actually an iOS 17.3 feature, so there are some extra steps to use it. You'll need to download and install the iOS 17.3 public beta from Apple's beta software website and follow the instructions. It's a little bit of a hassle, but if you're going to be out in public and drinking, Stolen Device Protection is worth the effort just in case.

Note: Apple does not recommend installing beta software on a primary device, and there is a chance that the install could cause issues with your iPhone. We have not seen reports of iOS 17.3 causing problems, but it is worth weighing the benefits and downsides before opting for a beta.

Messages Check In

If you're going out somewhere, you can use the Check In feature in Messages to let a trusted friend or family member know where you're going and when you should arrive.

messages-check-in.jpg

When you head out, turn on Check In, and it will keep track of your progress. If you stop along the way, Messages will ping you to see what's going on, and if you do not respond, helpful information like your battery level, location, route traveled, location of last iPhone unlock, and cellular status will be shared with the trusted person.

Check In is a feature that ensures someone is keeping an eye on you from afar, and if you're in an accident, accosted, or otherwise in trouble, it gives detailed information that can be used to find you.

Use Find My

You can also give a trusted friend or family member access to your location through the Find My app. Go to Find My, choose the People tab, and tap Share My Location.

find-my-friends-precision-finding.jpg

With the iPhone 15 and the second-generation Ultra Wideband chip, Find My can be used to track down your friends in a crowd if you're in a place like a concert venue. Note that both people need to have an iPhone 15 model.

Medical ID

Make sure your medical information is up to date in the Health app. Tap on your profile and then go to Medical ID to update your information.

iphone-medical-id.jpg

This is a quick way for someone to see your name, age, allergies, and emergency contacts, and it's data that can be viewed when your iPhone is locked.

Safety Check

It's a good idea to use the iPhone's Safety Check feature every now and then to see who you're sharing data with and who can track you. Open up the Settings app, go to Privacy and Security, scroll down, and tap on Safety Check.

ios-16-manage-sharing-2.jpg

In an emergency, you can use the Emergency Reset option, but for a check up, you'll want to tap on Manage Sharing & Access. It will show you who can see your location, which apps have access to your location data, who you share photo albums with, who you share notes with, all devices logged in to your Apple ID, and more.

Features to Know About

  • Emergency SOS - If you press and hold on the side button and either volume button on the iPhone, you can call emergency services surreptitiously. There's also an option to press five times on the side button to call, which is an even easier method. Adjust your SOS settings by going to Settings > Emergency SOS.
  • Emergency SOS on Apple Watch - To contact emergency services on the Apple Watch, hold down the side button until the emergency call slider appears, and then drag it to make the call.
  • Crash Detection - Crash Detection contacts local emergency services if a crash is detected. It's on by default, but double check that it's enabled under Settings > Emergency SOS > Call After Severe Crash.
  • Satellite SOS - In a remote area where you don't have signal, you can use satellite connectivity to get help in an emergency. It's a feature available on the iPhone 14 and 15 models, and note that you will need to be outside and have a line of sight to the sky for the best connectivity.
  • Use Siri - You can ask Siri to call 911 (or your local emergency number).
  • Text 911 - Need to get help while staying quiet? You can text 911 in the United States by opening up the Messages app and typing 911 in the "To" field. This works on Apple Watch too.
Other Safety Tips

Know of other safety tips iPhone users should be aware of? Share them in the comments below.

Article Link: Use These iPhone Features to Stay Safer
 
Last edited:

jclo

Managing Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
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4,296
Please, DO NOT install beta software on an iPhone you need and use daily, especially in a life or death situation. You are just asking for issues. I’m actually kinda shocked macrumors is suggesting it to people like it’s nothing.

I typically agree with this and do not normally recommend beta software on primary devices, but I wanted to let people know that it's an option. NYE is a major drinking holiday and I do think this is something that should be turned on if you're out in a bar or around unfamiliar people.

I'll add a note to use caution with betas. We have been running this beta since it came out and have not had issues, and I haven't seen reports, but it's true that it's a risk.
 

podycust

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2017
302
581
Why are you even listing Stolen device protection a feature that’s only available on beta version of iOS like it’s available already?

Which you should not be recommended to average user to install beta software!
 

coffeemilktea

macrumors 6502a
Nov 25, 2022
640
2,454
with New Year's Eve parties approaching
Stolen Device Protection is actually an iOS 17.3 feature, so there are some extra steps to use it
Installing beta software to stay safe during a New Year's Eve party is a big-brain 200 IQ move for sure. :p

Personally, my plan is to just eat a big dinner and then go to bed early. :cool:
 

Realityck

macrumors G3
Nov 9, 2015
9,600
14,174
Silicon Valley, CA
Stolen Device Protection is actually an iOS 17.3 feature, so there are some extra steps to use it. You'll need to download and install the iOS 17.3 public beta from Apple's beta software website and follow the instructions. It's a little bit of a hassle, but if you're going to be out in public and drinking, Stolen Device Protection is worth the effort just in case.
As others have said this is litterly the very first beta with this new security addition and unless you read up on all the observations early testers have encountered this is not what the average person should be utilizing yet. This is also a feature that likely see some tweaks to make it better/secure then the first incarnation with 17.3 beta. Likely to see it improve over 17.4 and 17.5.
 

3460169

Cancelled
Feb 18, 2009
1,293
212
One video to help add context around the need for Stolen Device Protection:


That said I don't advise installing beta software just for this feature.

Stolen Device Protection is a last-resort safety net and it's reasonable and feasible to avoid scenarios of device theft (like those in the video) by exercising care, common sense and situational awareness.


EDIT: Here's another one from the same reporter. She's been working on this subject for some time apparently.

 
Last edited:

vegetassj4

macrumors 68000
Oct 16, 2014
1,539
7,922
"but if you're going to be out in public and drinking, Stolen Device Protection is worth the effort just in case."

Darned drunken Apple users, what lushes. You wouldn't catch an Andrioid user getting plastered and playing fast and loose with their phone.
 

addamas

macrumors 65816
Apr 20, 2016
1,114
1,195
Will this time FIDO2 external keys will be fully protecting iCloud change or again passcode is more “secure” than FaceID, current iCloud password and forcing of use of another device password not current one?

> hoping it’s patched…
https://www.reddit.com/r/yubikey/comments/11ctoo5

Will VPN be patched from leaking data ?

> https://protonvpn.com/blog/apple-ios-vulnerability-disclosure/

Will safety check erase everything not remove security of device after it’s set up again ? (Which I think is still a hole)

> I think there was exploit around it…

Will iCloud email and login be visible even when passcode / account change is disabled via Screen Time ?

> Check what data is in Settings and Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay

Will SMS usage be prevented from cloned SIM card when 2FA is active and not lead to iCloud breach?

> https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204974

I highly doubt that Stolen Device Protection will do what says and not be just PR show
 
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tmjdisorder

macrumors newbie
Jan 9, 2017
9
94
It's been a few years since this happened, but the feature wasn't new then. I was curious about Medical ID and whether first responders knew how to access it, so I asked a couple, one police officer, and one fire fighter. Neither one of them knew that they could get to Medical ID on a locked phone. This is admittedly a small sample, and hopefully in the years since first responders have been trained in how to get to Medical ID on various devices.
 

YKApple

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2021
32
92
Canada
Texting 911 is such an underrated feature for Americans… but it’s not in Canada (unless you are registered as impaired, and even then you have to call to start “briefly” texting)
 
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svish

macrumors G3
Nov 25, 2017
9,006
24,042
Thinking of turning on stolen device protection once 17.3 is released. Find My to locate others is a very useful feature.
 
Last edited:
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DDustiNN

macrumors 68020
Jan 27, 2011
2,482
1,362
Check-in needs to be enabled for group messages for families. I would like to use it for motorcycle riding, but it’s impractical to initiate multiple instances in individual text message threads.
 

nnoble

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2011
453
536
A sad part of the world you live where it’s natural to consider downloading software in the event you get mugged. Happy New Year.
 
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darngooddesign

macrumors P6
Jul 4, 2007
17,678
9,062
Atlanta, GA
A sad part of the world you live where it’s natural to consider downloading software in the event you get mugged. Happy New Year.
I’m willing to bet that you don't use your phone and computer without passwords, passcodes, or Touch/Face ID, not to mention secure your banking apps with a good password and you probably don’t keep your passwords written down on a piece of paper on your desk so you should probably drop the smug attitude. There is nothing wrong with being prepared.
 

koil

macrumors regular
Dec 3, 2019
225
562
Know of other safety tips iPhone users should be aware of? Share them in the comments below.
Yeah, Advanced Data Protection should be mentioned in an article like this in my opinion. While not strictly safety, it's important to know about because it enhances privacy, which can equate to safety depending on if you're a "politically exposed person", or work in security/defense/similar field.
 

Arnold Ziffel

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2008
111
142
Ultimately, "safety" is for those 6' underground. Everything we do or don't do has risk associated with it, so live life to its fullest. Pay attention to what's going on around you and make reasoned choices.
 
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Reggaenald

Suspended
Sep 26, 2021
864
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I typically agree with this and do not normally recommend beta software on primary devices, but I wanted to let people know that it's an option. NYE is a major drinking holiday and I do think this is something that should be turned on if you're out in a bar or around unfamiliar people.

I'll add a note to use caution with betas. We have been running this beta since it came out and have not had issues, and I haven't seen reports, but it's true that it's a risk.
Good point. Bad on Apple’s part that they haven’t shipped it in time.
 
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