Activation Lock November 5

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The USPTO has today published a patent application by Apple to allow a specific fingerprint to activate a ‘panic mode’ on an iPhone, designed for use when the owner feels threatened, is in danger or is being forced to unlock their phone.

In its most basic form, placing a specific finger on the Touch ID button would place the iPhone into a special locked-down mode, blocking access to personal data store on the phone – perhaps simulating a brand new phone. In that way, if a street robber forced you to unlock your phone before handing it over, your data would be safe.

But the patent application goes far beyond this …  expand full story

Activation Lock July 27

While Activation Lock has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in some cities, with reductions as high as 50%, police data collated by the WSJ shows that the effect isn’t as great as expected in others. iPhone thefts fell by only 11% in Oakland, by 17% in Austin and actually increased by 32% in Seattle …  expand full story

Activation Lock February 11

Officials in three major cities have reported dramatic reductions in iPhone thefts since Apple introduced Activation Lock as part of iOS 7, preventing devices being re-activated without the original owner’s iCloud login. Reuters reports that the number of reported iPhone thefts has fallen year-on-year by 25% in New York, 40% in San Francisco and 50% in London …  expand full story


Activation Lock January 7

Bloomberg reports that a Manhattan District Attorney is challenging recent moves by Apple, Google and other tech companies by suggesting government pass laws that prevent mobile devices from being “sealed off from law enforcement.” In an interview this week, the government official called it “an issue of public safety.” expand full story

Activation Lock October 1, 2014

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Apple has unveiled a new tool for users to help determine whether an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is configured to use Activation Lock. The page works much like the tools used by carriers such as AT&T to determine whether a potential trade-in device was protected with the feature. You enter the IMEI or serial number of the device, fill in a CAPTCHA, and press “Continue” to get your results (via iDownloadblog).

If the device is protected, you’ll find instructions for disabling the security measure before selling it. You’ll also find help for removing a used device from another user’s account, in the event that you were sold a phone and the original owner had not disabled it (of course, all of those options involve contacting the previous owner and having them do it, for security purposes).

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Activation Lock June 18, 2014

When Apple introduced the new Activation Lock anti-theft system with iOS 7 to help prevent the re-use of stolen iOS devices, some lawmakers saw it as the perfect way to help quell smartphone theft. In fact, many sought to make features like it standard on all mobile devices. Today, the New York Times has released some new numbers that shows a decrease in iPhone theft following the implementation of Activation Lock.

According to New York police, thefts involving Apple products have dropped by 19% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. London and San Francisco authorities have seen even more impressive drops, with 24% and 38% reductions in iOS device thefts, respectively, in the six months following the feature’s release when compared to the six months immediately preceding it.

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