Apple unveils new security feature to safeguard against thieves
New York (CNN) — Apple is rolling out an iPhone security update to keep thieves out of your device.
Serving as an extra layer of protection for the vast amount of personal data kept on iPhones, the new feature intends to keep criminals out by adding additional steps to access information.
IPhone users can currently view highly sensitive information and make major changes to their phone’s settings with just a passcode – the typically four or six-digit number string used to perform a wide array of actions from unlocking a device to viewing credit card information to seeing every single stored password.
With the Stolen Device Protection feature, users are protected even if a thief manages to obtain their passcode. Instead of relying on the traditional string of numbers, users with the new feature will now be asked to enter biometric data via Face ID (face scan) or Touch ID (fingerprint) to access data or make changes.
For more sensitive actions – changing an Apple ID password, adding or removing face or fingerprint scanning, turning off Find My iPhone or turning off the stolen device protection itself – users will be asked for biometric data and then wait through an hour-long security delay before re-entering biometric data to make the changes.
“As threats to user devices continue to evolve, we work tirelessly to develop powerful new protections for our users and their data,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “In the rare cases where a thief can observe the user entering the passcode and then steal the device, Stolen Device Protection adds a sophisticated new layer of protection.”
The extra security measures are only enacted when a user is away from a familiar location like work or home. These locations are automatically learned and stored by the device.
Though currently only available to beta testers, the feature will be available for all iPhone users to opt into as part of an upcoming software update.