iOS 7's 'Activation Lock' Delivers Cautious Optimism to Officials Concerned Over Mobile Device Thefts

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    One of the new iOS 7 features introduced by Craig Federighi at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote yesterday was Activation Lock, which aims to reduce the appeal of Apple devices to thieves by preventing stolen phones from being activated by new users.
    Apple's announcement comes just days before a summit scheduled by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón in which the officials are to meet with representatives of Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft to discuss issues related to mobile device theft. The officials have been pushing manufacturers and carriers to find ways to disable stolen devices in hopes of making them less desirable to thieves.

    As noted by the Associated Press, Schneiderman and Gascón released a statement yesterday addressing Apple's activation lock and noting they are cautiously optimistic about the announcement while waiting to hear more details about how it works.
    The summit is scheduled for this Thursday in New York City, and Apple will presumably share more information about Activation Lock with the officials at that time to help them understand its benefits and limitations.

    Article Link: iOS 7's 'Activation Lock' Delivers Cautious Optimism to Officials Concerned Over Mobile Device Thefts
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2012
    finally somebody took the initiative about this. I hope more and more companies follow Apple and make this.
  3. macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009

    This also benefits apple as people will be more cautious about buying used devices and once horror stories start circulating of people buying devices on craigslist/kijiji that won't activate it will effectively kill the used market quite likely
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 9, 2009
    So do I now need to notify Apple whenever I intend to sell my iPhone? :confused:
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2005
  6. macrumors 65816

    Jan 16, 2010
    Kennesaw, GA
    No - this only happens when you remotely lock your phone. If they restore or delete your phone after that then an Apple ID will be needed. ;-)
  7. macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2011
    So the Activation Lock still kicks in when the phone is wiped, if Find My iPhone is on but not in Lost mode?
  8. syd430, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2013


    I'd be really excited when it's possible to actually track a phone even after a clean install. I suspect a lot of thieves know to switch the phone right off and wipe the OS.

    Just need a solution to the problem of legitimate second hand sales for this to work though.
  9. macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2011
    My guess is that before you give the phone to someone else, you'd unlock it, and choose an option to 'transfer owner' or 'open phone for transfer'; enter your username and password, and then the phone would be totally unlocked. Obviously you'd only do this when you are about to sell it i.e. literally putting it in the envelope to send to the buyer.

    By not enabling 'open mode' the phone should remain in a 'fixed to specific itunes account' state, preventing anyone else from resetting it, or wiping it.

    I would like to see how this works though, surely it will be hacked very quickly.... Still if it stops casual thiefs that's great.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Do the new Control Center toggles from the Lock Screen require any password? This feature may not do much if the thief flips the phone into Airplane Mode before it gets wiped.
  11. kot
    macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    I don't think this will be much of a theft deterrent, because thieves will just visit the nearest basement where a big bearded nerd shorts this with that and the phone is fresh as new. Or just erase the chip storing AppleID information and the phone is again like new. Or replace the chip. They will find a way.
  12. Syk
    macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    It's a start but how does it work? Will the user be able to do this or will it be something that has to be done by Apple.

    My only concern is someone sells their iDevice to someone and then bricks it or what if the person who stole it got home and reloaded it before you could get home to brick it...
  13. macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2003
    No, just turn off the feature. It is an option.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2012
    I think the master reset will be gated, but I don't the actual copy/verbiage will change. Fundamentally we're saying the same thing.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2003
    It is still active even after the wipe. I am sure it will be defeated but it will make it more of a hassle for many a petty thief.
  16. macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2011
    I think the opportunistic thief looking for a quick buck is not in the market to start replacing chips on the iPhone's logic board....
  17. kot
    macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    Sure, my point is that I highly doubt this feature will be impenetrable.
  18. macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    So what if the phone is wiped and reactivated before the user gets the chance to do what ever is needed to prevent the reactivation?
  19. macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    Maybe, or maybe not. They just need to make it difficult enough to restore the phone to a sellable state that nobody is willing to go through the effort of stealing it, getting it back to a working state, and selling it for less than it could be gotten by legal means.
  20. macrumors 65816

    Apr 16, 2004
    Drifting through space in a broken escape pod
    I've never understood why law enforcement was angry at Apple over iPhone thefts. Maybe they should do their freaking jobs and catch thieves? I'm all for Apple making their products harder to steal, but how lazy are cops anyway? Just goes to show you personal responsibility is always better than the police since they will do nothing to save you and your property.
  21. macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    There's some truth in this - I'm impressed, in an odd sort of way, how things eventually get hacked.

    However, if the hack is complicated enough, then the barrier will be high enough to be a deterrent.

    In addition, for a while, there won't be any hack at all, and any iOS7 phone will be viewed as non-resellable, both from the thief's POV and the buyer's POV.

    If that time period is long enough, then the word will spread and the theft rate should, theoretically, go down.

    Most thieves understand risk - if they're taking something for a possibility of no gain at all, they'll tend to avoid that.
  22. macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2011
    I HATE thieves! I'm glad something is being done to prevent phone thefts or at least lessen the frequency.
  23. macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2008
    Which will be, well, never.
  24. macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2011
    I really like that this feature is controlled by us users, and not the carrier/Apple. I envisioned a real pain in the a$$ if Apple pulled the kill switch due to a mistake or whatever (disgruntled ex, previous owner?). Trying to fix it would be a nightmare. This way we control it. I am assuming there is a way to disassociate the device when selling so the buyer can then control it.

  25. macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2003

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