iPhone users guard it with their life. Standing in the queue all-night long to get their hands on the latest flagship, is something which only iPhone users can understand and show the spirit of. I, for one, do not foresee this kind of response for any OEM even in the years to come. Apple has been tremendously lucky to brand its devices as breakthrough and enjoy the loyalty of its users in return. All over the world, Apple devices and users enjoy the attention, both merited and unwarranted.
Fortunately, the new iOS 8 tackles this problem and answers to the most criticized aspect of iPhones. With the release of the new software, users get ‘Kill Switch’ feature that disable a stolen phone by default. This anti-theft feature does not need to be turn on in case of a theft. Apple is calling it ‘Activation Lock’ and fixes one of the most problematic situations Apple users face. By adding this safety mechanism to its operating system, this Cupertino based company has become the first ever company to conform to California regulation which has stated the OEMs to include theft-deterrent features to the new smartphones by July 2015. The credit of this regulation goes to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who has been pushing the smartphone makers to incorporate safety features to reduce thefts.
I am sure that many of you won’t be aware that in cities like New York, they have separate police units to handle mobile phone thefts and if you exclude thefts of Apple device, the crime rates reduce to almost half! No wonder that the local police units refer to the thefts of Apple devices as “Apple Picking.”
According to the lawmakers and enforcement authorities, this feature can really put an end to iPhone thefts since it won’t be of much use for the thieves. The Kill Switch tool will remote lock the phone and wipe the data in an orderly fashion, rendering the device useless. The best part is that you do not have to turn in on, it is automatically there. When a thief tries to disable Find My iPhone app that locates the missing iPhones, the iPhone automatically turns it off and wipes the data. Users need not to log in Apple webpage to turn on the feature in case of some mishap.
Though, users can choose to opt-out of this if they want to. If you are able to find your iPhone after locking it, you need to log-in with your Apple ID and username to activate it again.
It is a fact that if the Kill Switch mechanism could be added to all the smartphones by default, it could eliminate data and phone thefts completely. Since this feature is available with the new iOS 8, most of you getting an upgrade will benefit from this. Though, the older versions won’t have the benefit of ‘default’ turn-on. Apple OS update for iOS 8 is available for iPhone 4S and older.
The Activation Lock safety feature is not new for Apple users though. Apple rolled it out first with iOS 7 last year but the users had to activate it. Samsung also has the Kill Switch feature for its high-end Android phones but it needs to be activated.
According to the consumer reports, in the U.S. alone there were thefts of about 3.1 million phones, almost double than the number reported in the year 2012.
At such times, this user-friendly default feature of Activation Lock by Apple is highly commendable. It can pull the trigger down on thefts and in the process, will restrict access to the sensitive data as well.