Op / Ed

iPhone Thefts Down Due To Kill Feature

The “kill switch” feature that Apple added to its iPhones starting in September of 2013 has reduced theft of the device by up to 50 percent in some locations.  The feature requires the Apple ID and password of the previous user to allow someone else to use the phone.  If not provided the phone is rendered useless.   This has prevented theft of the devices by people looking to make quick cash.  Users with Activation Lock on can lock their phones remotely and without the Apple ID and Password the phone is absolutely useless.  According to Apple, the phone is basically a paperweight.

Lawmakers were urging Apple to implement such a feature for a while before it was added, and some states are even making new laws requiring such features in all new phones sold.  Smartphone makers were reluctant to enforce killswitch technology in their smartphones, citing that it would make them more vulnerable to hacking.  However the proof seems to be in the pudding; phone theft has fallen considerably in just 12 months.

As the victim of a phone theft once in my life, and a second attempt through a botched pickpocketing, I am glad that the technology is here to stay.  I also feel better knowing that my phone is less of a target now.

However, it seems that the Kill Switch feature on Apple phones has already been hacked.  While it’s now more difficult to resell a locked iPhone, those with a bit more tech savvy won’t have a problem it seems.

What do you think?  Do you think new laws by states should force phone companies to put killswitch software on their phones?  Or is it too much red tape?  Apple seems to have done it voluntarily.

Bill Gordon

Bill Gordon has been writing on tech and malware subjects for 6 years and has been working in the internet and tech industry for over 15 years. He currently lives in Southern California.

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