Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.
To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.
Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
-A remote-lock feature (like the PIN code setting included with Find My iPhone)
-A restore-blocking feature that can prevent unauthorized attempts to wipe the phone and use it (like iOS 7’s Activation Lock)
-And the ability to restore the original owner’s data upon recovery of the device (such as from an iCloud or iTunes backup)
As you can see from the points above, Apple’s Find My iPhone and Activation Lock services are already in full compliance with the agreement. These security measures must be included with the phone at the time of purchase, or available for download from the App Store or a similar software market.
The following companies that have agreed to this program, as per the CTIA announcement earlier today:
Apple Inc.; Asurion; AT&T; Google Inc.; HTC America, Inc.; Huawei Device USA;Motorola Mobility LLC; Microsoft Corporation; Nokia, Inc.; Samsung Telecommunications America, L.P.; Sprint Corporation; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless.
The program is voluntary (for now), though legislators have previously tried to enforce such requirements by law.