New ‘Activation’ Lock for iPhones Could Stop Thieves

June 10, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Thieves may not want to try stealing iPhones now, after Apple unveiled a new lock that prevents unauthorized resetting of an iPhone or iPad.

“We think this is going to be a really powerful theft deterrent,” said Craig Federighi, Apple software vice president, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 10, according to Venture Beat.

Thefts of iPhones and other Apple products have become increasingly common, especially in New York City. The total thefts of Apple products increased by 3,280 incidents in the first three-quarters of 2012, for example, while total crime dropped slightly during the same period.

The problem of thefts has frustrated law enforcement officials, but Apple managers may have solved the problem. 

Basically, if one’s iPhone or iPad gets stolen, and the thief tries to disable the Find My iPhone app, they won’t be able to reactivate the phone or pad, according to EnGadget. This also happens if the thief tries to wipe the phone clean.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who recently announced a summit on June 13 to discuss how to stymie thieves taking smartphones from people, said in a statement obtained by the Huffington Post that they “look forward to having a substantive conversation” with Apple and other phone manufacturers at the summit, while declining to comment on the new feature “until we can understand its actual functionality.”

The attorney generals say that 1.6 million Americans had smartphones taken from them in 2012, and Gascon in an earlier statement called the problem “a national epidemic.”

“It’s time for manufacturers to be as innovative in solving this problem as they have been in designing devices that have reshaped how we live,” said Schneiderman. 

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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