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Government Officials Praise 'Activation Lock' Feature of iOS 7 Following Public Release

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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A pair of prosecutors, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, have been pressing Apple for months over a rash of thefts of mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads. Gascón in particular had been pushing for a 'kill switch' that could permanently disable stolen iOS devices.

Today, Gascón and Schneiderman praised Apple's release of the Activation Lock feature in iOS 7, calling it the "world's first attempt to implement a technological solution to the global smartphone theft epidemic".
"After months of pressure from a global coalition of elected officials and law enforcement agencies, we are pleased that Apple is set to release a new mobile operating system that includes a theft deterrent feature called Activation Lock. This is an important first step towards ending the global epidemic of smartphone theft.

"In the months ahead, it is our hope that Activation Lock will prove to be an effective deterrent to theft, and that the widespread use of this new system will end the victimization of iPhone users, as thieves learn that the devices have no value on the secondary market. We are particularly pleased that - because Activation Lock is a feature associated with Apple's new operating system as opposed to a new device - it will be available to consumers with older phone models who download the free upgrade.
The release goes on to note that while Activation Lock is a "step forward", it is ultimately too early to tell if it will cut down on the so-called "Apple Picking" crimes.

Article Link: Government Officials Praise 'Activation Lock' Feature of iOS 7 Following Public Release
 

stanluca

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2011
5
0
Los Angeles, CA
Craiglist purchases

What happens if you buy someone's old phone on CL and they report it stolen? Do you end up with a brick? How do you delete iTunes activation account all together?
 
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dayalprem

macrumors newbie
Sep 10, 2013
12
0
Campo Mourao, Brazil
I don't think so, most of the thefts involved have some connections with the insiders in the apple store. I have personally seen how they work. They make the phone physically dead and then ask for a replacement. this way the TouchID was never used at all by them.
 
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576316

macrumors 601
May 19, 2011
4,056
2,556
So, when confronted with this screen, there is no way a potential thief could restore the phone in iTunes somehow bypassing this?
 
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vinhen

macrumors newbie
Dec 19, 2011
1
0
How will this Activation Lock affect Find iPhone app? Will it be of any help?
 
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eklof

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2011
94
0
So, when confronted with this screen, there is no way a potential thief could restore the phone in iTunes somehow bypassing this?


That's the idea. No restore of any kind without the original users apple id. Remains to be seen how secure it is.
 
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uber_nerd

macrumors member
Aug 19, 2004
41
0
"After months of pressure from a global coalition of elected officials and law enforcement agencies..."

Oh politicians! Yes, this feature was magically created after your grand standing... no one ever thought it was a good idea before that or started all work necessary to bring it to fruition.

Talk about ego and self-aggrandising!
 
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windywalks

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2004
489
356
As if the spare parts, as scarce and expensive as they are, aren't enough of an incentive to steal and sell. Save for the logic board that will obviously be locked out.
 
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vsighi

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2010
413
3
San Diego, CA
I do like this...makes me feel like I can leave my iPad/iPhone in the lunch room and come back after one hour and found my device right there on the table :D
 
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SatManager

macrumors 6502
Feb 20, 2012
277
12
Las Vegas
It is a step forward for security only if people activate "Find my Phone" and put a passcode on the iPhone. Since there are studies that indicate that about half of the phones don't even use a passcode to lock the phone, the "Activation Lock" isn't going to be active. So until Apple requires a passcode to install iOS, security will never be complete on the iPhone.
 
Comment

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,584
671
Cork, Ireland.
Not sure how effective it's likely to be. Chances are most thieves will have the iPhone in hand and be several yards down the road before looking at the screen and realising the Activation lock is in place. In some time, if/when the majority of iPhones have this in place, then maybe.
 
Comment

DipDog3

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2002
1,185
679
What happens if you buy someone's old phone on CL and they report it stolen? Do you end up with a brick? How do you delete iTunes activation account all together?

Everything you need to know:

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT5818

How do I check for Activation Lock before purchasing a used device?

When purchasing an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from someone other than Apple or an authorized Apple reseller, it is up to you to ensure that the device has been erased and is no longer linked to the previous owner’s account.

Follow each of these steps to make sure that you can use the device you purchase:

1. Turn the device on and slide to unlock.
If the passcode lock screen or the home screen appears, the device has not been erased. Ask the seller to completely erase the device by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Do not take ownership of any used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch until it has been erased.

2. Begin the device setup process.
After choosing a language, choosing a country, and connecting to a network, the device will begin activation. If you are asked for the previous owner’s Apple ID and password, the device is still linked to their account. Hand the device back to the seller and ask them to enter their password. If the previous owner is not present, they can remove the device from their account by signing in to icloud.com/find. Do not take ownership of any used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch until it has been removed from the previous owner’s account.
You will know that a device is ready for you to use when you are asked to “Set up your iPhone", “Set up your iPad", or “Set up your iPod” during the device setup process.


Gazelle also has some good instructions with screenshots:
http://www.gazelle.com/thehorn/2013/08/26/how-to-turn-off-activation-lock-in-ios7/
 
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Larsennet

macrumors member
Dec 15, 2010
51
4
How does this work for companies? If someone is terminated and they don't wipe the phone how does a company get back into the device to wipe & give to someone else? The original user may not want to cooperate.
 
Comment

DaveMcM76

macrumors 6502
Mar 13, 2012
322
215
Scottish Highlands
It is a step forward for security only if people activate "Find my Phone" and put a passcode on the iPhone. Since there are studies that indicate that about half of the phones don't even use a passcode to lock the phone, the "Activation Lock" isn't going to be active. So until Apple requires a passcode to install iOS, security will never be complete on the iPhone.

Funny you should say that - my iPad prompted me to enter a passcode (it didn't have one previously) as part of the iOS 7 setup after the update…. I couldn't see an obvious way to skip it so maybe they have already started down this road….

Also, having decided earlier to do a full restore update as I had a couple of issues with my OTA update today iTunes wouldn't let me do the restore until I'd turned find my iPhone off off on the iPad and the iPad wouldn't let me turn find my iPhone off without my iCloud username and password.

So far it seems pretty bulletproof…

For those asking the official way to pass your phone onto somebody else seems to be turn find my iPhone off and then do a full settings / data reset on the device which will then allow it to be set up under a different iTunes account - see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5818?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
 
Comment

blackcrayon

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2003
2,092
1,631
It is a step forward for security only if people activate "Find my Phone" and put a passcode on the iPhone. Since there are studies that indicate that about half of the phones don't even use a passcode to lock the phone, the "Activation Lock" isn't going to be active. So until Apple requires a passcode to install iOS, security will never be complete on the iPhone.

I don't know that a phone passcode is necessary. It still requires the Apple ID password to disable find my iPhone. But correct me if I'm wrong (didn't read this anywhere).
 
Comment

tommyminahan

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2008
176
119
How does this work for companies? If someone is terminated and they don't wipe the phone how does a company get back into the device to wipe & give to someone else? The original user may not want to cooperate.

The company should be using Apple Configurator with Supervised Phones then.
 
Comment

gadgetguy03

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2012
223
143
How does this work for companies? If someone is terminated and they don't wipe the phone how does a company get back into the device to wipe & give to someone else? The original user may not want to cooperate.

My thought would be that they force them to cooperate or else face legal action.

If not I'm sure the company will be more than willing to use their lawyers to work with the cellular phone provider and arrange for it to be wiped. Maybe the cell provider would operate a trade where they give the company a new phone while taking the original and wiping it at the factory.

EDIT: This is just speculation. I do work in HR but I'm only a data entry clerk haha
 
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Yamcha

macrumors 68000
Mar 6, 2008
1,809
134
What a surprise, obviously governments praise the activation lock features, it gives them the ability to snoop on citizens.
 
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forthelove

macrumors newbie
Mar 6, 2013
22
0
The first thing a smart thief does is erase all content and settings and turn off the phone. If you have a passcode lock, they can't do this without wiping from iTunes. Hopefully this buys you enough time to report it lost/stolen; bricking the device until you enter your AppleID UN/PW.
 
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