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Apple revamped its retail stores last year by removing iPad smart signage and demoting iPod display models to side shelves, and now the company has another move up its sleeves in a push towards simplicity.

iphone-security-tethers-removed.jpg
iPhone display models docked with only Lightning charging cables in Toronto

Over the past few months, Apple has removed security tethers from iPhone display models at some of its retail stores, including its Yorkdale location in Toronto, Canada and redesigned Regent Street store in London, England.

MacRumors has learned of at least two other stores in the United Kingdom where the security tethers, which activate audible alarms when disconnected, have been removed, and it appears likely the change will be phased in at other locations.

The courageous move effectively allows customers to walk into an Apple retail store, pick up an iPhone display model, and walk out with the device without paying, but Apple evidently feels the untethered experience is worth the risk.

tethered-iphone-7.jpg
iPhone display models with security tethers (Image: Mirror.co.uk)

As CNET explains, Apple wants customers to be able to hold an iPhone properly, try out cases, and even pocket the device:
Apple says this is to allow people to hold them properly, try cases on them and even see how they feel in your pocket. It's a bold move, especially given the lack of visible security in the building. We couldn't spot a single CCTV camera, although any phone taken out of the store will set off an alarm. If not returned, the phones will also be rendered unusable.
The customers who do attempt to steal iPhone display models, if not caught by security or CCTV cameras where installed, will walk away with unusable devices, as Apple will place them into Lost Mode remotely using Find My iPhone.

Apple continues to use security tethers on larger products such as MacBook and iPad display models.

(Thanks, Peter!)


Article Link: Apple Stores Removing Security Tethers From iPhone Display Models
 
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frumpy16

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2008
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Good luck trying to steal those. You'll have a dead phone by nightfall.
I just watched a TV show recently that profiled cell phone theft. Phones are stolen in the US and shipped to Latin America where people use software/hardware tools to break the software locks and then they are sold throughout Latin America. I don't see why that M.O. wouldn't work with these display model phones. All that said, I'm sure Apple has robust security in their stores. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.
 
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kasakka

macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
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Wouldn't it be better to just design for example a lightning cable that could lock into the port, thus making it impossible to take the phone with you but still allow you to operate it as you normally would?

That said, I am annoyed that it's hard to truly gauge how a phone feels in a store because of the large security dongles attached to them right in the middle. I usually end up just buying the phone I'm interested in from a store with a liberal return policy so I can actually try it at home in peace.
 
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simply258

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2003
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Bahrain
Demo iPhones are actually made for demo purposes, and are not like the ones we buy. Their serial number starts with a special number and the iOS version is a demo, there's no Reset menu (no it's not restricted via Restrictions, which I believe that menu isn't there either) and you can't set up iCloud on it.
 
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Floris

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Sep 7, 2007
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I pocketed a display model of the iPhone 6+ before I purchased one. I needed to be sure that it would actually fit in my pocket.
That's what I did too. Coming from the 5s, I made sure the plus fit my pocket, otherwise it's not even worth it. When I am not sitting down, the phone's in my right pocket (and nothing else, wallet, etc on the left)
 
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iGeek2014

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Jun 29, 2014
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=== Nowheresville ===
Demo iPhones are actually made for demo purposes, and are not like the ones we buy. Their serial number starts with a special number and the iOS version is a demo, there's no Reset menu (no it's not restricted via Restrictions, which I believe that menu isn't there either) and you can't set up iCloud on it.

Yes I always thought it was a demo version of iOS rather than the proper thing.
 
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Lennholm

macrumors 65816
Sep 4, 2010
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The courageous move effectively allows customers to walk into an Apple retail store, pick up an iPhone display model, and walk out with the device without paying, but Apple evidently feels the untethered experience is worth the risk.

Gosh! So much courage lately. But no amount of courage on Apple's part can match the courage of people who bought the Galaxy Note 7. ..
 
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Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
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Demo iPhones are actually made for demo purposes, and are not like the ones we buy. Their serial number starts with a special number and the iOS version is a demo, there's no Reset menu (no it's not restricted via Restrictions, which I believe that menu isn't there either) and you can't set up iCloud on it.

If iCloud can't be set up on them, how do they use Find My iPhone per the article?
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
Wouldn't it be better to just design for example a lightning cable that could lock into the port, thus making it impossible to take the phone with you but still allow you to operate it as you normally would?
That would simply make the lightning cable double as the security cable. It wouldn't change anything. Per the example from the OP... try out cases or pocket the device (to test the pocketability). A tether is a tether, be it a lightning cable or braided steel.

Personally, I'm not sure what the big deal is. Every phone I've ever purchased, I've always been able to handle the phone without any restrictions.
 
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