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-wipe feature (like the one included with the Find My iPhone service)

-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.

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22 Responses to “Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program”

  1. rettun1 says:

    Still leading by example


  2. I’m sick & tired of all of these software-based “solutions”.
    How about some built-in anti-theft measures like a motion-dectector-based alarm
    that can disabled with a custom gesture once recovered?
    Yeah, I know there’re 3rd-party apps that do something like this.,
    But I want it done exactly AND I want it done by Apple!


    • Mike Beasley says:

      I’m 99% sure that would end up with so many false positives when people just tried to move their own phone that they’d get pissed and turn it off. I’ll take a software-based solution over that any day. Activation Lock has proven effective.


  3. moofer1972 says:

    What do you know… A feature that Samsung should actually copy, but hasn’t. Stand by for “Find my Galaxy”


  4. Tallest Skil says:

    Hey, Apple. How about requiring a passcode to turn the device off? Seems easy enough.


  5. herb02135go says:

    Leading by example only because the company name starts with “A”!


  6. themis333 says:

    They’re already far out in front of other companies in this area.


  7. I like how the Xbox knows if any of its internals were replaced by means of matching serial numbers or initial authentication during manufacturing. It’s nice to know that if my iPhone was stolen, it couldn’t be activated, but that’s not to say the thieves couldn’t take it apart and sell it for parts.

    A replacement touchscreen or spare battery or frame or Touch ID sensor could still be a lucrative alternative for them. However, if each major part were authenticated to each other upon assembly, and only Apple could hold the keys to reauthenticate replacement parts when put together, that could prevent that avenue of a stolen parts market from being realized.


    • The parts are so cheap anyway, you really think it would make a difference, i can have every component replaced apart for the “motherboard” so screen, buttons, frame, camera, battery, i mean everything, and it costs 2000kr here in Norway, the phone new is 6000kr+, so tell me how 6 month old parts as an example, make it worth stealing… A while working phone second hand is worth in excess of 4500kr…

      Phones are not worth stealing for parts…!!!