Police: iOS 7’s Activation Lock has helped reduce iPhone theft in some cities

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

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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:
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Nearly a fifth of all grand larcenies in NYC involved Apple products

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Thefts of Apple products made up 18 percent of all grand larcenies in New York City last year, reports the WSJ, citing NYPD figures. Of the 47,000 grand larcenies occuring in the city last year, 8,465 involved Apple products.

Many of the thefts happen on public transportation, where most people are buried in their devices and aren’t paying attention to their surroundings, said Joseph Giacalone, a retired New York Police Department detective. “It’s easy pickings,” he said …  Read more

San Francisco district attorney calls on Apple to enable Activation Lock by default on all iPhones

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When Apple debuted iOS 7 earlier this year, one of the many new features covered at the keynote event was Activation Lock. The feature is an addition to the existing Find My iPhone system that helps recover lost or stolen iOS devices. While Find My iPhone mainly focuses on locating tracking the missing device on a map, Activation Lock is designed to keep thieves from using stolen phones.

George Gascón, San Francisco district attorney, has called on Apple to enable this feature by default, requiring users to opt-out of the service rather than opting in. Gascón cites a recent survey of 313 San Franciscans which revealed that 79% of responding iPhone users had enabled Find My iPhone and Activation Lock.

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Apple announces ‘Activation Lock’ theft deterrent feature for iOS 7 ahead of gov’t meeting on rising smartphone crime

Ahead of a meeting with government officials later this month to discuss how Apple could prevent increasing smartphone crimes, Apple today introduced a new feature called ‘Activation Lock’ that it says will be “a really powerful theft deterrent” when released later this fall in iOS 7.

We told you earlier this month that government officials in the US were calling Apple, Google and others to a “smartphone summit” later this month on June 13 to discuss the increasing amount of smartphone related crime in New York city and the rest of the country. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon have been pushing smartphone makers to come up with solutions to prevent crime and discourage thefts of devices.

Today, during its WWDC keynote presentation ahead of the meeting later this month, Apple introduced the ‘Activation Lock’ feature that will require an Apple ID and password to reactivate a stolen phone after being remotely erased/wiped by the owner through Apple Find my iPhone feature. The login information will also now be required to turn off Find My iPhone.

If a user’s device is stolen, wiping the device clean will essentially leave the thief with a device that is inoperable without the user’s Apple ID and password (as pictured above): Read more