Smartphone theft is a big issue; but there is relatively new fight against the war and it looks like the stats show it is winning, for the moment anyway. With pressure from the communications industry and government regulators alike, the decision to implement a ‘kill switch’ in Apple’s flagship mobile devices via the Find My Phone app, was a smart move. The app can erase and subsequently disable a phone once it has been stolen or has been lost.
Reuters have compiled a new report, which found that iPhone theft dropped by 50% in London, 40% in San Francisco and 25% in New York.
The new figures represent theft activity, as it was measured during a 12 month period following Apple’s introduction of the remote locking feature. The new feature came as standard as part of iOS 7, back in September 2013.
With the implementation of iOS 8, Apple made the so-called ‘kill switch’ active by default. This was done in accordance with a California regulation that was put in place; it is the application of this new ‘kill switch’ that should continue to have an impact of the theft trend.
Interestingly, Apple is one of the first manufacturers to implement the system by default, willingly other than through a user opt-in arrangement.This means it should be present on more devices as people buy more of Apple’s products. For instance, all new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, will have the feature on be default, as those models are shipped with iOS 8 pre-installed.
The statistics from last year indicated that the company’s implementation of the iPhone Activation Lock were actually having a notable effect. This, combined with Apple’s iOS 8 adoption rate (currently over 70%) and the Find My Phone app itself, were key points in this security issue. This means that the risk associated with stealing a modern iOS device is even greater.
The overall goal is to ensure smartphone theft ends up as futile as stealing a brick. When a user blanks their device it renders it, ultimately useless, except for parts that is.