The third beta version of iOS 17.3 has been released for developers, adding a security feature that iPhone users have eagerly anticipated. This latest pre-release build follows last week’s iOS 17.3 beta 2, which Apple pulled after reports that it was causing some devices to get stuck in endless reboot loops, rendering them temporarily unusable.
Among general bug fixes, iOS 17.3 beta 3 finally implements Apple’s “Stolen Device Protection” to make iPhones more theft-resistant. Essentially, passcodes won’t work if a phone is unlocked in an unfamiliar location, requiring thieves to pass Face ID authentication twice at timed intervals to gain access. This prevents them from resetting the owner’s Apple ID password or viewing sensitive personal information stored on the device.
The public launch of iOS 17.3, expected within the next couple months, will reportedly also include collaborative playlists in Apple Music and potential integration with the upcoming Apple Vision Pro augmented reality glasses. As the beta 2 snafu demonstrated, early test software can still be unstable and risky to install on primary devices, so most users should wait for the public release.
Developers and beta testers play an important role in troubleshooting pre-release builds to help Apple refine new features before broad deployment. But unless you need immediate access to the anti-theft capabilities or other additions, it’s generally wisest to hold off until the software has been thoroughly evaluated and made officially available. The functionality and performance can vary widely from what ultimately ships to consumers.