4 Exciting New Features Coming to Your iPhone with iOS 17.3 « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Apple recently released iOS 17.2, its biggest iPhone software update since iOS 17.0, with almost 60 new features. Now, it’s preparing its next iPhone software update, iOS 17.3. This latest software isn’t expected to be the behemoth that iOS 17.2 was, but it has a few exciting new things you’ll definitely want to know about.

One of the new features coming with iOS 17.3 was previewed in iOS 17.2’s beta development cycle before being held back from the stable release. Another one addresses a major security problem. And there are even some search improvements for your iPhone’s settings.

If you want to try out these new features before everyone else, you can join the iOS 17.3 Beta. The first developer beta came out on December 12, with the public beta following two days later on December 14. Some of the new changes also apply to iPad, and you can also join the iPadOS 17.3 Beta to see for yourself.

1. Stolen Device Protection

The highlight of the iOS 17.3 update is Stolen Device Protection. This adds another layer of security to protect you from someone who could take your iPhone and discover your passcode. Before, that’s all a thief would need to reset the password for your Apple ID account, turn off Find My iPhone, and view all your stored account credentials in iCloud Keychain, among other things.

With Stolen Device Protection enabled, found via Settings –> Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode) –> Turn On Protection, you’ll need to authenticate yourself with Face ID or Touch ID to perform specific actions on the device. And you can’t use your passcode as a failsafe when biometric authentication fails.

According to MacRumors, actions that require biometric authentication include:

  • Viewing/using passwords or passkeys saved in iCloud Keychain.
  • Applying for a new Apple Card.
  • Viewing an Apple Card virtual card.
  • Turning off Lost Mode.
  • Erasing all content and settings.
  • Taking certain Apple Cash and Savings actions in Wallet.
  • Using payment methods saved in Safari.
  • Using your iPhone to set up a new device.

For increased security, more damaging actions will require a one-hour wait time after authentication whenever you’re in unfamiliar locations. These actions include:

  • Changing your Apple ID password.
  • Updating select Apple ID account security settings, including adding or removing a trusted device, trusted phone number, Recovery Key, or Recovery Contact.
  • Changing your iPhone passcode.
  • Adding or removing Face ID or Touch ID.
  • Turning off Find My.
  • Turning off Stolen Device Protection.

2. Apple Music Playlist Collaboration

Playlist collaboration, which lets you create playlists with family and friends on Apple Music, made a brief appearance during the iOS 17.2 betas before being pulled. Thankfully, iOS 17.3 brings it back. Collaborators must be running iOS 17.3, iPadOS 17.3, or macOS 14.3 Sonoma and have “Synced Library” enabled. It even works on Android!

Playlist owners can approve collaborators or let anyone with the playlist link join automatically. Anyone who joins the playlist can add, reorder, and remove songs, and their profile icon appears next to any songs they add to the list so everyone knows who contributed each song. Collaborators can also react to other people’s songs with emoji via Now Playing and other locations, and everyone in the playlist will see those reactions.

3. New Settings in Search + URL Schemes

Not every setting on your iPhone can be found via a search in the Settings app, but with iOS 17.3, Apple just added six more items to search, including the new Switch Control Mode feature added on iOS 17.2. These couldn’t be found via search before:

  • “Headphone Notifications” (Accessibility –> Audio & Visual)
  • “Launch Recipe” (Accessibility –> Switch Control –> Recipes –> Launch Recipe)
  • “Background Color” (Accessibility –> Live Captions –> Appearance)
  • “Reset Colors” (Accessibility –> Live Captions –> Appearance)
  • “Text Color” (Accessibility –> Live Captions –> Appearance)
  • “Switch Control Mode” (Accessibility –> Switch Control –> Switch Control Mode)

To go along with these new search links, each is assigned a URL scheme that you can use in your own custom shortcuts in the Shortcuts app:







4. Minor Settings Adjustments in Search

With iOS 17.3, Apple also fixed a few paths in other items you can search for in the Settings app. These ones have minor path adjustments:

  • “Flashlight Notifications” (was Accessibility –> VoiceOver –> Verbosity –> System Notifications; now Accessibility –> VoiceOver –> Verbosity –> Flashlight Notifications)
  • “Scanning Style” (was Accessibility –> Switch Control; now Accessibility –> Switch Control –> Scanning Style)
  • “Feedback Style” (was Accessibility –> VoiceOver –> VoiceOver Recognition –> Screen Recognition; now Accessibility –> VoiceOver –> VoiceOver Recognition –> Feedback Style)

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Cover photo and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks


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