Stolen Device Protection: any downsides?

Stolen Device Protection looks like a significant security improvement, but I’m wondering whether anyone sees any downsides to enabling it on an iPhone with Face ID.

The only one I can think of is if you unexpectedly needed your face bandaged you could be locked out of your account.

But I guess as long as you don’t enable it on your Mac when/if it rolls out to macOS, you’d be able to get around that anyway…as long as you still had access to it (and assuming you weren’t too beat up to use a keyboard! :wink:)

(FWIW, in my experience Face ID isn’t reliable enough to trust for something like this.)

Possible downsides (not necessarily related to Face ID as such):

  1. Slight annoyance when adding an Exchange account.

  2. I suppose it needs to be disabled before preparing an iPhone to be sold or traded in, as otherwise you might have to wait an hour in an Apple Store if you’ve forgotten to do that at home as it would prevent you from signing out of your account. I wonder why Apple has not updated the related support article yet.

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Another annoyance:

After enabling it you can’t add an account recovery contact outside your home, unless you wait for an hour.

(ran into that when visiting a family member and trying to make her an account recovery contact)

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Thanks for sharing that. It’s typical to have to choose between security and convenience, but it’s a good idea to be aware of stuff like that ahead of time so you know how to deal with it when it happens.

The only concern I have is having Apple determine my “familiar locations”. When I checked what my phone has determined are “Significant Locations” it had 88 sites listed. With the exception of my home I would not want device protection turned off at any of them.

So I have turned off significant locations which means I will have to wait to make changes even when I am home. AFAIK that is my only option.

  • Significant Locations is located in Privacy and Security, Location Services, System Services
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You’re right, and this confirms it: Security Bite: iPhone's Stolen Device Protection has a fatal flaw, but you can fix it - 9to5Mac

Unless you have significant locations turned off, Stolen Device Protection will be useless at a favorite restaurant or bar, which is exactly the kind of place your phone is likely to get stolen.

Stolen Device Protection ought to operate separately from the automated significant locations. You should be able to simply type in the specific addresses (home, work, your sister’s house, the headquarters of a gang that fences stolen phones :wink:) where you want it to be suspended.