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Worried about your iPhone being stolen? Apple has the answer

We’ve been looking into Apple’s Stolen Device Protection for iPhones, and how it could help you keep your data safe if the worst happens. 

Phone theft in the UK

Phone theft is on the rise in the UK, and it is easy to understand why. For many of us, our mobile phones are one of the most expensive things we carry with us, we’re often keeping them with us everyday, and taking them everywhere we go. This makes mobile phones an easy target for thieves, particularly when the risk of being caught is low and the profit on reselling a stolen phone is high.

The Met Police stated that in 2022, 90,864 mobile phones were reported as stolen, which amounts to almost 250 a day. According to the same article from the BBC, ‘almost 70% of all thefts in London last year related to mobile phones’. Phone manufacturers and network providers were being asked to do more to ensure that thefts of mobile phones were less profitable for thieves. 

Apple’s Stolen Device Protection

Apple states that their Stolen Device Protection, ‘adds a layer of security when your iPhone is away from familiar locations, such as your home or your workplace, and helps protect your accounts and personal information in case your iPhone is ever stolen.’ When Stolen Device Protection is enabled, it means that someone who has stolen your device and knows your passcode will be unable to make important changes to your account or your device.

Biometric authentication

Apple’s Stolen Device Protection has two main features, biometric authentication, and security delay. When Stolen Device Protection is enabled, biometric authentication requires you to use Face ID or Touch ID before you can do things like use passwords or passkeys, use payment methods saved in Safari, turn off Lost Mode, erase all content and settings, or view your Apple Card/use Apple Cash.

Security Delay

With security delay, when Stolen Device Protection is enabled, Apple may require that you wait an hour before using your iPhone to change your security settings or your Apple ID. If your iPhone is also not in a familiar location, you’ll be required to use your Face ID or Touch ID, and then wait for an hour to change these settings. These settings include changing your Apple ID password, signing out of your Apple ID, updating Apple ID’s security settings, adding or removing Face ID or Touch ID, and turning off Find My and Stolen Device Protection.

With Stolen Device Protection, your data should be more protected than ever before. You can turn on Stolen Device Protection by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Stolen Device Protection, and then tap to turn the feature on.

If my mobile phone is stolen, what should I do?

There are a number of actions that you need to take when your mobile phone is stolen. Whilst the possibility of getting your phone back is low, there are things that you can do in order to protect your sensitive information, data, photos and logins that are stored on the device

Contact the police

One of the most important things that you can do if your mobile phone is stolen is to report the theft to the police using the non-emergency number (in the UK, this is 101). If your phone is insured, some insurance providers will not allow you to make a claim without a police report of the theft. The police should ask for the IMEI, and they will also be able to give you a crime reference number. 

Tell your network provider

The first thing that you should do when your phone has been stolen is to contact your network provider. They should be able to block your phone and suspend your account. Not only does this prevent you from being billed for any expensive phone calls or services, it also means that you can get your phone’s identification number, which is called an IMEI.

Your network provider should also be able to tell you what the next steps are if you have ongoing contracts for the device. Make sure you ask your provider what their policy is regarding phone payments after the phone has been reported stolen.

Contact your insurance provider

With the crime reference number, you should now be able to make a claim on your insurance. This will be dependent on the kind of cover you have for your device. Your insurance provider should then be able to advise you of the next steps that you can take to replace, or receive compensation, for your phone.

Stolen Device Protection is available on iPhones running iOS 17.3 or later


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