Apple has announced the official release of iOS 17.3, the latest software update for iPhones. The update brings several notable new features, with a strong focus on security and privacy protections.
After a period of developer and public beta testing, Apple has now released iOS 17.3 as a stable public release. The update will roll out automatically to all supported iPhone models over the coming days. Users can also manually trigger the update by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
The iOS 17.3 release comes just days after Apple seeded the release candidate version to developers and public beta testers last week. The company suggested then that the public release would be soon.
As reported by TechCrunch and other outlets, Apple had originally planned to release iOS 17.3 earlier this month but delayed it to fix issues found in the betas.
Enhanced Anti-Theft Protections
One of the most notable features in iOS 17.3, covered extensively by news outlets like The Verge and MacRumors, is a new capability called Security Keys for Apple ID.
This feature allows users to require a physical security key as a second form of authentication when signing into a new device with their Apple ID account. This makes it much harder for thieves to access a stolen iPhone.
According to Apple’s support page, users can register compatible security keys like those from Yubico and enable the feature under Apple ID settings. Then during setup of a new iPhone or iPad, users will need to physically connect the security key and authenticate with it after entering their password.
This feature joins existing anti-theft tools like Activation Lock, which prevents reactivation of lost or stolen devices without the owner’s Apple ID credentials.
Other Notable Changes
In addition to the anti-theft improvements, iOS 17.3 includes other notable changes:
- Support for new Unity wallpapers that shift perspective based on device movement
- Updates to the Apple Music, Wallet, and Home apps
- Bug fixes for issues found in previous iOS 17 releases
iOS 17.3 is compatible with all the same iPhone models currently running iOS 17.2.1. These devices include:
- iPhone 14/14 Plus/14 Pro/14 Pro Max
- iPhone 13/13 mini/13 Pro/13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12/12 mini/12 Pro/12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max
- iPhone Xs/Xs Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8/8 Plus
- iPhone 7/7Plus
- iPhone 6s/6s Plus
- iPhone SE (1st and 2nd generation)
So users of iPhone 6s and newer can install the update.
What’s Next After iOS 17.3
With iOS 17.3 now publicly released, Apple’s engineering teams are likely shifting focus to the next major iOS update, version 17.4, as covered recently by outlets like 9to5Mac.
That release will probably debut around WWDC 2024 in early June as a developer beta. It could bring more substantial changes like new Messages and Health capabilities that have been rumored.
In the nearer term, Apple may still update iOS 17 with additional maintenance releases like 17.3.1 to address bugs or security issues. But iOS 17.3 represents the last major feature update planned for iOS 17.
So iPhone users should install iOS 17.3 soon to get all the latest enhancements, especially the valuable new anti-theft protections. With strong security, UI improvements, and bug fixes on board, iOS 17.3 is recommended for all users able to install it.
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