An idea: iOS theft mode

steviem

macrumors 68020
Original poster
May 26, 2006
2,218
3
New York, Baby!
So I was thinking about this after a friend had their phone stolen and couldn't do anything with Find My iPhone to recover it, as the thief wiped the phone too soon (excuse it being a collection of notes...).

I present to you - Theft mode:

Tap home button 5 times (easy enough when getting robbed?), power button will not allow you to turn off, cannot use home+power to restart, cannot put into DFU, cannot go into airplane mode, location services come on.
Messages, email, phone, safari, photos, music all get new database files and the 'new user' can use the phone as before.

Find My iPhone will find the phone, once you see it, can alert police and recover phone with a full SWAT team, hopefully shooting the robber in the face.

Can turn off in Find My iPhone too if done by accident.

SIM card still a problem. Verizon & Sprint should be ok with this though.
 

Syk

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2010
825
94
Doubt you're going to be thinking tap home button 5 times if you're being robbed, especially if they have a weapon.
 
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Dwalls90

macrumors 601
Feb 5, 2009
4,761
1,118
Hmm Five times tapping home button is a little too easy to do by mistake, BUT I think the idea on the whole is excellent.
 
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steviem

macrumors 68020
Original poster
May 26, 2006
2,218
3
New York, Baby!
That's what I was wondering. The problem is getting find my iPhone going within a few minutes after it happening. If you can't do it during that window of opportunity, you've probably lost it forever.
 
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lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Nov 29, 2011
12,902
3,475
Boston, MA
This is all well and good, but how many people actually get their phone stolen from in front of their eyes? I would say the vast amount of "stolen" iPhones are those that are left behind (like at a pub) or perhaps grabbed from a bag/pocket without the owner noticing a thing. Frankly, while in the process of being mugged, I generally worry about more than whether or not the thief is getting away with a usable iPhone.
 
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BFizzzle

macrumors 68020
May 31, 2010
2,443
0
Austin TX
Doubt you're going to be thinking tap home button 5 times if you're being robbed, especially if they have a weapon.
im going to be thinking "here take my iphone, dont kill me"


lol

good idea, you should be able to lock the phone from powering (theft mode) via find my iphone.
but then again they could just pull the sim
 
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rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,524
3,535
PHX, AZ.
The issue is I'll wager a majority of iPhone thefts are done without the owner's knowledge.
Makes the feature pretty much useless.
Apple simply needs to build a better lock.
Disable the ability to power down or enter DFU mode if a security code is in place.
Have Wifi automatically turn on and attempt to connect to any open connection. Once connected, it should transmit its location every few minutes to the Find my iPhone site or a designated email address if the SIM card is removed while the phone is in a locked state.
Moot for CDMA based phones since you cannot disable the cell signal without powering down the device.
 
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BFizzzle

macrumors 68020
May 31, 2010
2,443
0
Austin TX
The issue is I'll wager a majority of iPhone thefts are done without the owner's knowledge.
Makes the feature pretty much useless.
Apple simply needs to build a better lock.
Disable the ability to power down or enter DFU mode if a security code is in place.
Have Wifi automatically turn on and attempt to connect to any open connection. Once connected, it should transmit its location every few minutes to the Find my iPhone site or a designated email address if the SIM card is removed while the phone is in a locked state.
Moot for CDMA based phones since you cannot disable the cell signal without powering down the device.
its actually against the law to connect to open wifi with out getting permission sadly :/ so they could never have that feature.
 
Comment
This is all well and good, but how many people actually get their phone stolen from in front of their eyes? I would say the vast amount of "stolen" iPhones are those that are left behind (like at a pub) or perhaps grabbed from a bag/pocket without the owner noticing a thing. Frankly, while in the process of being mugged, I generally worry about more than whether or not the thief is getting away with a usable iPhone.
This.

So I was thinking about this after a friend had their phone stolen...
Was your friend actually mugged or just stolen from more secretly? Probably the latter. But if he/she actually was mugged, you should ask them if they think they would have known, remembered, and been able to use such a feature as you discribe above.

I think we are stuck with what we have. Although with the new "lost iPhone" feature, it would be nice if it enables some of these things like preventing the phone from being turn off etc. I don't know if it does already.
 
Comment

Syk

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2010
825
94
im going to be thinking "here take my iphone, dont kill me"


lol

good idea, you should be able to lock the phone from powering (theft mode) via find my iphone.
but then again they could just pull the sim
Seems like it would be better to tie it to the IMEI or some special serial#
It seems like I read about something on Android or Jailbreak that wouldn't allow the device to be erased or something

ETA: or it needs to be tired to the hardware and run through apple servers so no matter if it' DFU restored or whatever once it connects to apple via os update or app store the device auto locks and rendered usless even to a DFU. Require being sent to apple or something. Atleast the person who has the phone won't be able to enjoy it.
Wouldn't surprise to see Apple charge for it though $2 a month billed to your cell bill or directly to apple. Think of it like a form of insurance that who ever has it won't get any enjoyment from it. Maybe even add if you report it stolen and send them the police report if a cell number registers to it that the info will be sent to the police
 
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Enigmanaut

macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2012
12
0
Philadelphia area.
So I was thinking about this after a friend had their phone stolen and couldn't do anything with Find My iPhone to recover it, as the thief wiped the phone too soon (excuse it being a collection of notes...).

I present to you - Theft mode:

Tap home button 5 times (easy enough when getting robbed?), power button will not allow you to turn off, cannot use home+power to restart, cannot put into DFU, cannot go into airplane mode, location services come on.
Messages, email, phone, safari, photos, music all get new database files and the 'new user' can use the phone as before.

Find My iPhone will find the phone, once you see it, can alert police and recover phone with a full SWAT team, hopefully shooting the robber in the face.

Can turn off in Find My iPhone too if done by accident.

SIM card still a problem. Verizon & Sprint should be ok with this though.
Even if they implemented something like this, it's of limited utility if you don't plan on confronting the thief on your own. The Police won't waste their time even if you know where the iPad is. It's just not worth the manpower to go after what, to them, is a petty theft.

So, it would really be down to you to go to the iPad and wrest it back from the thief, and as this would encourage vigilantism, Apple is unlikely to do anything like it.
 
Comment

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
7,568
8,899
So I was thinking about this after a friend had their phone stolen and couldn't do anything with Find My iPhone to recover it, as the thief wiped the phone too soon (excuse it being a collection of notes...).

I present to you - Theft mode:

Tap home button 5 times (easy enough when getting robbed?), power button will not allow you to turn off, cannot use home+power to restart, cannot put into DFU, cannot go into airplane mode, location services come on.
Messages, email, phone, safari, photos, music all get new database files and the 'new user' can use the phone as before.

Find My iPhone will find the phone, once you see it, can alert police and recover phone with a full SWAT team, hopefully shooting the robber in the face.

Can turn off in Find My iPhone too if done by accident.

SIM card still a problem. Verizon & Sprint should be ok with this though.

Won't work in my city. Thief heads straight for NYC underground subways. NO signal. :eek:

Thief turns on the flash, happily draining your battery.

Thief then walks outside back to street level with a untrackable dead battery iPhone.

Thief googles and downloads a patch to bring phone back to normal. Thief successfully restores phone and sells it.
 
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Trauma1

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2009
585
2
Way too many holes in the idea, especially with data. There's plenty of workarounds for a potential thief.

----------

Won't work in my city. Thief heads straight for NYC underground subways. NO signal. :eek:
Except for the ones that do have a cell repeater.
 
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