The iPhone's "Anti-Theft" Future

Your iPhone will soon be more secure.

Good morning! ☀️ *Tim Cook voice*

Today, we’re discussing a major new iPhone security feature, the iMessage on Android saga continues, and more!

Estimated reading time: 3.4 minutes

📊 Poll

In the last poll, I asked: Do you use Apple Pay or Physical Cards?

Here are some of my favorite replies:

Physical Card - “I use Apple Pay whenever I can. It is easy, secure, and frankly it is fun. Scanning my phone instead of a card feels almost futuristic to me and I love it. However, my groceries come from Walmart and somehow they still do not accept contactless payment. And I have a rewards card I use for gas that is not compatible with Apple Pay. So most of my “every day” purchases still end up being physical card.”

Apple Pay - “It feels safer to use Apple Pay. The merchant doesn’t get your card details. Love Apple Pay on the internet so much easier than filling in all those card details.”

This week: Do you think iMessage should be allowed on Android? Or do you think this should remain an iPhone-only service? More on this below.

Should iMessage be allowed on other smartphones?

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📲 Why This New iPhone Feature is a Big Deal


This week, Apple released iOS 17.3 Beta 1 to beta testers and it includes one of the most important iPhone security features we’ve seen in a while: Stolen Device Protection.

The Issue

  • The WSJ reported on a rising issue in big cities, like NYC, where thieves would befriend individuals at bars and other hangout areas. After the victim felt like they could trust the thief, they would be more open and more inclined to unlock and be on their phone around them.

  • The costly mistake lies in the passcode being entered while the thief was watching you tap those digits. Now, all they need to do is steal the phone without you noticing - and that’s what they did.

  • With the iPhone and passcode, the thief can access your banking & crypto apps, your passwords, and even remove your Apple ID from the device. That means you can no longer track it with Find My. You’re screwed.

  • As a result, WSJ reports that these unfortunate people not only lost their iPhones, but in some cases, the thieves would open an Apple Card in their name, make purchases with Apple Pay, and even steal tens of thousands of dollars via banking apps with the password saved in the iCloud keychain. Brutal.

The Solution


Now, thanks to this excellent reporting from Joanna Stern and crew, Apple has implemented a feature in iOS 17.3 called “Stolen Device Protection” that will restrict key settings when you’re away from a significant location (home, work, etc). Here’s how it works:

  • If you want to change the Apple ID password, add/remove Face ID from the device, view saved passwords, or anything that would allow a thief to cause harm, you are now required to use Face ID/Touch ID - and there is no passcode fallback.

  • After the first biometric scan, there’s an hour delay until you can change the password, add/remove Face ID, etc.

  • After the hour delay, you then have to do another biometric scan. Only then can you complete the process.

  • Keep in mind, this process only takes place if you are not in a known location like home or work.

  • Below is a list of settings/functions and whether or not they require the hour-long wait

So, while this feature won’t be available to the general public until late January, it’s something you’ll want to be aware of & potentially enable right after installing the update.

Do you think this feature will lead to a slowdown of iPhone theft? Or will there always be another way and thieves will continue being thieves?

Will this lead to a decrease in iPhone theft?

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💬 iMessage on Android - The Dilemma

Beeper Mini app

A couple of weeks ago, a company called Beeper launched a new product called Beeper Mini. Their goal was to get iMessage on Android, but without logging in to your Apple ID. And it worked.

It was an instant hit and got a LOT of positive press. The first couple of days were smooth sailing.. until they faced their first “issue.”

The issue was first said to be on Beeper’s end. But then it was revealed that Apple was actually behind it.

And that’s when we knew that a new cat-and-mouse game was going on here, and the Beeper founders were prepared for it.

Apple later released a statement saying: “[Beeper’s] techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy.” Which Beeper denies, saying that they’d be willing to let a 3rd party inspect their source code to ensure privacy.

Just this week alone, Beeper has gone down and come back online 3 different times. Each time, the team somehow finds a new workaround to get the service back online and functioning.

Since this cat & mouse game has been dominating headlines lately, even Senator Elizabeth Warren chimed in by saying:

Green bubble texts are less secure. So why would Apple block a new app allowing Android users to chat with iPhone users on iMessage? Big Tech executives are protecting profits by squashing competitors.

Chatting between different platforms should be easy and secure.

Elizabeth Warren/X

Given the “never back down” approach from the company and also from Apple, I’m sure this will continue to be an ongoing battle. But in battles like this, Apple almost always wins in the end.

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