Confirmed: Here’s when Apple will release iOS 17.3 with a vital data protection feature alongside watchOS 10.3 – iMore

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple releases updates to the software that powers the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV at regular intervals and it has two new updates on the horizon. And while Apple hasn’t given an exact date for when they will drop, we can now make a calculated guess based on the information the company gave us in a recent press release.

Apple’s updates bring with them a variety of things whether they are bug fixes, security fixes, or in the best cases, updates that bring whole new features to the mix as well. In the case of the upcoming iOS 17.3 and watchOS 10.3 updates, we can probably expect a little bit from all of those categories, too.

Both updates have been working their way through their respective beta programs and have been in the hands of developers and public beta testers for some time, but now we know when we can expect to be able to install them ourselves. And that’s important because the iOS 17.3 update will bring with it a key new data protection feature that iPhone owners should definitely pay attention to.

Coming soon

We now know more than ever about when Apple’s latest software will arrive thanks to a press release discussing the company’s 2024 Black Unity Collection. That collection includes a new Apple Watch face and iPhone wallpaper. You’ll need watchOS 10.3 and iOS 17.3 respectively, and Apple’s small print had the details.

“The new Unity Bloom iPhone and iPad wallpaper for the Lock Screen will also be available next week, and requires iPhone Xs or later running iOS 17.3,” Apple explained. As for the Apple Watch face, Apple confirmed that will be available at the same time. “The Unity Bloom watch face will be available next week, and requires Apple Watch Series 4 or later running watchOS 10.3,” the same press release reads.

With that in mind, and with Apple’s new Unity watch band going on sale on Tuesday, January 23, we can be sure that these software updates will either arrive on that same day or the day prior. With that in mind, January 22 or 23 are the dates we suggest you look for.

Stolen Device Protection

While the watchOS 10.3 update isn’t set to set the world alight, the iOS 17.3 update is a different matter. It’ll bring with it a new Stolen Device Protection feature that is designed to ensure that people don’t lose access to their Apple ID and associated data should their iPhone be stolen. A trend of thieves stealing unlocked iPhones and then resetting the Apple ID password has been locking people out of their accounts for some time now, but this feature should protect against that.

Stolen Device Protection will do that by requiring that Face ID be used in order to allow access to saved passcodes while a security delay will be enforced when changing settings like an Apple ID password. The delay won’t kick in if the iPhone is at a familiar location, like your home, however.

Another new feature coming to iOS 17.3 is support for collaborative Apple Music playlists, a feature that was expected to ship with iOS 17.2 but was ultimately canned.

With the release of both of these new software updates now just around the corner eyes will inevitably turn to what comes next, with iOS 18 and watchOS 11 set to be previewed at WWDC in June.

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