Apple today unveiled a slew of new iOS 7 features, one of which aims to make the iPhone a less desirable device for thieves.
With a new iOS 7 utility Apple calls "Activation Lock", thieves who attempt to turn off "Find my iPhone" will not be able to do so unless they have a user's iCloud credentials. What's more, even if a thief attempts to wipe a device clean, he won't be able to reactivate the phone without entering in a user's credentials.
Losing your iPhone feels lousy. Thankfully, Find My iPhone can help you get it back. But if it looks like that's not going to happen, new security features in iOS 7 make it harder for anyone who's not you to use or sell your device. Now turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. Find My iPhone can also continue to display a custom message, even after your device is erased. And your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it. Which means your iPhone is still your iPhone. No matter where it is.
Ideally, this will help take some of the wind out of the growing resale market for stolen iPhones.
It's no secret that smartphone thefts over the past two years have been on the rise, with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg even speculating that iPhone-related thefts were at the root of New York City's increased crime rate in 2012.
It remains to be seen how effective "Activation Lock" will be to combat iPhone thefts, but Apple's Craig Federighi seemed rather confident.
"We think this is going to be a really powerful theft deterrent," Federighi said.
Either way, it's nice to see that Apple is cognizant of the issue.
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