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iOS 17.4 Is Almost Here, but Don't Miss These iOS 17.3 Features

The iOS update brought new security features, bug fixes and more to your phone.

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zach-mcauliffe
Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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Zachary McAuliffe
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While Apple will likely release iOS 17.4 soon, bringing new emoji and other new features to your iPhone, the tech giant brought a handful of new features to your iPhone when it released iOS 17.3 in January. Some of the new features include a new security setting called Stolen Device Protection, as well as some important bug fixes for your iPhone. 

To download the update, go to Settings > General > Software Update, tap Install Now and follow the onscreen prompts. 

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Here's what iOS 17.3 brings to your iPhone.

Read more: What iOS 17.3.1 Fixes on Your iPhone

Stolen Device Protection

Apple's iOS 17.3 introduces Stolen Device Protection to your iPhone, which aims to help protect you and your data. 

According to CNET's David Lumb, Stolen Device Protection requires you to enter your biometric authentication, like Face ID and Touch ID, multiple times to access some of your sensitive settings and information, like your Apple ID password. This feature uses a new mechanism called Security Delay when you try to change these settings. 

If you attempt to change these settings when you're away from a familiar location, like your home, Stolen Device Protection will require you to enter your biometric info, like your facial scan or fingerprint, twice; once initially and then again after an hour. Since Stolen Device Protection only protects a handful of settings, you still have to take steps to protect other information, like your social media accounts. This is an optional security feature, but Apple recommends everyone turn it on.

Read more: How to Enable Stolen Device Protection on Your iPhone

New Unity Bloom wallpaper

A smartphone wallpaper showing flowers

The new Unity Bloom wallpaper in iOS 17.3.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

In honor of Black History Month, iOS 17.3 brings a new wallpaper, called Unity Bloom, to all iPhones. According to Apple, the wallpaper shows an outline of flowers that will fill with color once the display is active. 

Apple Music collaborative playlists are here at last

With iOS 17.3, Apple brings collaborative playlists to Apple Music subscribers. The feature allows multiple people to edit and control shared playlists on the music streaming platform. You can also react with an emoji to a song in a collaborative playlist that someone else added. That way you can let someone know instantly if you like a song or not in the playlist.

Apple announced collaborative playlists in Apple Music at WWDC 2023 in June. The feature was included in some beta versions of iOS 17.2 but wasn't included in the final release of that update.

Here are the full release notes for iOS 17.3:

About This Update

Stolen Device Protection

Stolen Device Protection increases security of iPhone and Apple ID by requiring Face ID or Touch ID with no passcode fallback to perform certain actions.

Security Delay requires Face ID or Touch ID, an hour wait, and then an additional successful biometric authentication before sensitive operations like changing device passcode or Apple ID password can be performed.

Lock Screen

New Unity wallpaper honors Black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month.

Music

Collaborate on playlists allows you to invite friends to join your playlist and everyone can add, reorder, and remove songs.

Emoji reactions can be added to any track in a collaborative playlist.

This update also includes the following improvements:

AirPlay hotel support lets you stream content directly to the TV in your room in select hotels.

AppleCare & Warranty in Settings shows your coverage for all devices signed in with your Apple ID.

Crash detection optimizations (all iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models).

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

For more on iOS 17, check out what could be included in iOS 17.4 and what was included in iOS 17.2. You can also check out our iOS 17 cheat sheet.