It’s update time, people. Apple officially released iOS 17.3 for compatible iPhones everywhere, and while it isn’t the biggest update in iOS history, it does come with some compelling reasons to download and install it ASAP.
Stolen Device Protection
As it turns out, a good passcode isn’t enough to keep your iPhone safe. If a thief sees your passcode over your shoulder as you type it in, they can actually use it to reset your Apple ID password. From there, they can lock you out of your Apple life, not just on your stolen iPhone, but any connected Apple devices as well. Yikes.
iOS 17.3’s new Stolen Device Protection feature intends to fix that security flaw. If you choose to enable it, iOS will require a Face ID or Touch ID scan for many different security checkpoints where a passcode would previously be requested. So, you’ll need to scan Face ID when attempting to reset your password, but also for accessing saved passwords and passkeys, making purchases, viewing your digital Apple Card, and other sensitive info and settings.
Collaborative playlists are finally here
Credit: Pranay Parab
I’ve been very excited for collaborative Apple Music playlists ever since Apple announced the feature for iOS 17.2. Unfortunately, the company removed the feature at the last minute, and delayed it to iOS 17.3. Boo. Luckily, now that the RC is out, we know collaborative playlists made the cut this time.
With collaborative playlists, you can invite friends to add to an Apple Music playlist together. Everyone has to ability to add and remove songs and adjust the playlist’s order. My favorite part is that you can react to different songs with emojis, so you can make your feelings known concerning songs other people add to the playlist.
Important security updates, including for a zero-day vulnerability
Apple doesn’t include these as part of its release notes, but security patches are an important part of most iOS updates. In fact, iOS 17.3 comes with 15 patches for security flaws that existed before iOS 17.3.
While all security flaws are important to fix as soon as possible, one WebKit flaw is more important of all: Tracked as CVE-2024-23222, this flaw allows bad actors to run their own code on your iOS device after you process a malicious piece of content online. Worst of all, Apple confirmed this flaw has been exploited in the wild (making it a zero-day vulnerability), so it’s essential that everyone with an iPhone or iPad update their device immediately. Apple even released security updates for iOS 15.8.1 and iOS 16.7.5 to address the zero-day in older iPhones and iPads. The story is the same on macOS, so update your Mac ASAP if you have one.
There are a lot of interesting flaws iOS 17.3 patches, however. There’s a Neural Engine fix for a bug that would have allowed arbitrary code execution with kernel privileges (essentially, allowing bad actors to take over your system); a fix for a Mail flaw that would allow an app to access sensitive user data; a patch for a Safari flaw that would reveal private browsing activity in Settings; a fix for a Shortcuts flaw that would allow a shortcut to use sensitive data without alerting the user; another fix for Shortcuts that stops an app from bypassing certain Privacy settings; a patch for an issue that would stop Stolen Device Protection from working; and a fix for a Time Zone issue that would allow an app to view a user’s phone number in the system logs, among others. You can see the full security report here.
Other fun features in iOS 17.3
Those are undoubtedly the three most important features in this latest update, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only notable changes that are part of the update.
Introducing AirPlay hotel support
Apple announced this feature during the WWDC keynote, but delayed it as well. Now, it’s back: With iOS 17.3, you can scan a QR code at participating hotels to AirPlay content from your iPhone to the TV in your room. Anything you’d normally watch on your phone, you can beam to the much larger display across from your bed.
According to Apple’s AirPlay site, this support is coming to “select brands from IHG® Hotels & Resorts, including Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo®, and InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts.”
AppleCare & Warranty changes
When you go to AppleCare & Warranty in Settings, you’ll see your coverage statuses for all devices connected to your Apple ID. Previously, it only showed whether you have coverage on your iPhone, but now you can check in on the status of your Mac, iPad, etc.
Crash detection optimizations
Apple doesn’t go into much detail on this one, but they do say that all iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models get crash detection optimizations with the new update. Presumably, crash detection is more accurate now. It wouldn’t be the first time: Crash detection used to call 911 if you fell while skiing.
New Unity wallpaper
Finally, iOS 17.3 adds a new Unity wallpaper, which Apple says honors Black history and culture for Black History month.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.