Apple is adding a “kill switch” to iPhones in hopes of cutting down on theft.
iOS7, which is expected to arrive this fall, will contain a feature known as Activation Lock. An Apple ID and a password will be required in order to turn off the “Find My Phone” feature or erase any data the phone may contain.
Speaking at the annaul Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi said he hopes the so-called “kill switch” will help cut down on the number of phones that are stolen.
“We think this is going to be a really powerful theft deterrent,” he explained.
“Apple picking,” the nickname given to the theft of iPhones or iPads, is a serious problem around the world. According to CNN, New York City police have a department dedicated to investigating stolen phones.
Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said crime increased in the city by three percent last year. He believes this could be directly linked to the number of iPhones that were reported stolen by residents.
“If you subtracted just the increase in Apple product thefts, we would have had an overall decrease in crime in New York,” Browne explained.
The Wall Street Journal reports New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon are hoping the cellphone industry will start taking measures to curb the increasing amount of theft.
New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has asked Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and Google to work alongside law enforcement officials to figure out ways to combat the problem. The proposed “kill switch” in iOS7 could be a step in the right direction.
According to The Huffington Post, thieves have used stealth, force, and guns to separate people from their iPhones. In 2012, nearly half of the robberies reportedly in San Francisco were related to smartphones.
What do you think about the Apple iPhone “kill switch?” Do you think this will help cut down on the number of smartphone thefts around the country?