What to try first in iOS 17.3


iOS 17.3
iOS 17.3 introduces a major new security feature for iPhones.
Image: Cult of Mac

iOS 17.3, the third major release of iOS 17, arrived Monday. It packs several new features, one of which is Stolen Device Protection. It also brings the much-delayed Apple Music playlist collaboration.

Once you install iOS 17.3 on your iPhone, check out the new features you must try below.

iOS 17.3 features to try

Like iOS 17.1 and iOS 17.2, the third point iOS 17 release brings some welcome enhancements. Besides bug fixes, it has three additions, one of which is the new Unity Bloom wallpaper.

Install iOS 17.3 on your iPhone from Settings > General > Software Update. Make sure to update your paired Apple Watch to watchOS 10.3 as well.

Stolen Device Protection

Stolen Device Protection in iOS 17.3 beta
Your iPhone can better protect itself from data thieves with a new iOS 17.3 feature.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Stolen Device Protection “adds an additional layer of security in the unlikely case that someone has stolen your phone and also obtained your passcode.” Once enabled, you must verify your identity while accessing your saved passwords, turning off Lost Mode, setting up a new iPhone using the existing device, etc.

The security measure also adds a one-hour delay for changing sensitive settings at an unknown location. This includes changing your Apple ID password and iPhone passcode and adding/removing Face ID or Touch ID. There’s no such delay when changing your Apple ID settings at a secure location, like your home or office.

Apple added this feature to iOS 17.3 in response to reports of thieves accessing users’ private information from stolen iPhones by spying on their passcode.

Collaborative Playlists in Apple Music

iPhone’s collaborative music playlists
Collaborative music playlists are brilliant … when they finally arrive.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple began testing collaborative playlists in Apple Music since iOS 17.2 beta builds. But for some inexplicable reason, the company pulled the feature from the stable build of that OS before it launched in December.

That’s not the case with iOS 17.3, as it finally introduces Collaborative Playlists in Apple’s music app. The feature allows you to create that perfect playlist with the help of your friends or family. You can make a link or a QR code to share a playlist.

New Unity Wallpaper

Black Unity Collection wallpaper for iPad and iPhone
iOS 17.3 introduces a new wallpaper for your iPhone and iPad.
Photo: Apple

iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3 add a new Unity Bloom wallpaper for iPhone and iPad. The new wallpaper goes well with Apple’s 2024 Black Unity Collection Apple Watch band and face.

iOS 17.3 release notes

You can find Apple’s official iOS 17.3 release notes highlighting all the changes below.

Stolen Device Protection

  • Stolen Device Protection increases the 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.


  • 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).

With iOS 17.3 stable released, Apple could likely drop the first iOS 17.4 beta for compatible iPhones in the coming week. Maybe even tomorrow.

Ed Hardy contributed to this article. 


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