Activation Lock has slashed iPhone thefts in major cities

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Ericsson wants to stop Apple selling iPhones in the United States. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Drop in crime rate? There's an app for that. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

As highly-desirable and premium-priced tech goodies, it’s no surprise that iPhones have previously been among the most stolen items we carry around on a regular basis. In fact, police have even correlated spikes in crime rate to the launch of new iPhone models — suggesting that it’s not just upstanding citizens who keep an eye on the blogosphere.

That all changed when Apple added its Activation Lock feature with iOS 7, allowing users to locate, lock and even wipe their iPhones remotely in the event that they are stolen. Based on that, a new report claims that the number of stolen iPhones fell significantly in major cities around the world between September 2013, when Activation Lock was introduced, and one year later.

Take that, iCriminals!

Samsung phone thefts spike after Apple adds kill switch

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Samsung is after more of Apple's iPhone business.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s fabulous iPhone used to be the number one reason crime was on the rise in New York City, but now that Apple’s added Activation Lock to iOS 7, thieves have given up their iLust and are targeting Samsung phones like never before.

Just look at the sudden change in thefts in the chart below:

How your next iPhone could detect whether it’s being used by a thief

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iphonethiefdaters123

As the devices we likely use the most on any given day, it makes sense that our smartphones should be as personalized as possible: not necessarily in terms of the New York Knicks or Hello Kitty case we keep them in, but in terms of how much they understand us and can anticipate our behavior.

A new patent application published Thursday shows how Apple is experimenting with future iPhones and other mobile devices which can comb through the usage patterns on particular device and determine whether it is being used by its rightful owner.

Activation Lock responsible for massive drop in iPhone thefts

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iphonethiefdaters123

There are plenty of stories about iPhone thefts causing spikes in crime statistics, but according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Apple’s introduction of an iPhone kill switch may be starting to turn around.

Measuring crime after the iPhone’s Activation Lock was first introduced in iOS 7, police in  San Francisco, London, and New York claim that San Francisco robberies fell by 38 percent, London robberies by 24 percent, and New York robberies by 19 percent — while grand larcenies in NYC including the iPhone dropped 29 percent in the first five months of 2014, compared to the same time period last year.