Apple’s iOS Activation Lock reduces iPhone thefts, Samsung phone thefts skyrocket

“To you, your new iPhone 6 looks like a gleaming sheet of technological magic — but to a thief, it looks like a shiny, worthless brick,” Ellen Huet reports for Forbes.

“That’s because every iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus comes with Activation Lock — Apple’s ‘kill switch’ — on by default. Every phone, if stolen, can be wiped remotely and ‘bricked,’ which makes it worth almost nothing to thieves, who usually want to re-sell stolen phones quickly for profit,” Huet reports. “When Activation Lock is on, an AppleID and password are required to turn off Find My iPhone, sign out of iCloud, or erase and reactivate a stolen phone.”

“The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the first new smartphones to have the kill switch on by default. Because iPhones are the most commonly stolen smartphone — law enforcement have dubbed iPhone robberies ‘apple picking’ — any reason for thieves to believe their targets are likely to have phones with kill switches should lead to a drop in crime,” Huet reports. “In New York City, iPhone thefts and robberies dropped 29 and 19 percent in early 2014, while Samsung phones became attractive new targets. San Francisco and London also saw double-digit percent drops in iPhone thefts after an opt-in kill switch was offered.”

Source: Preliminary data from a joint project of the Deputy Commissioners of Operations and Strategic Initiatives at the New York City Police Department
Source: Preliminary data from a joint project of the Deputy Commissioners of Operations and Strategic Initiatives at the New York City Police Department

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ha, now even the criminals are settling for iPhone knockoffs!

Imagine, thieves stealing a stolen product designed by thieves! You know what that is? An infinite loop of karma.

And, yes, here’s yet another reason atop a mountain of reasons for not settling for less than the best. With Apple’s all new, 64-bit smartphones, the gorgeous 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the stunning 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, there’s never been a better time to stop settling for chintzy, risky imitations and make the move to the real thing!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” and “WetFX” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple posts new how-to guide: Switching from Android phone to iPhone – September 16, 2014

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus tested at Disneyland: ‘So badass’ – September 17, 2014
Re/code reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘A statement phone,’ not a ‘plastic toy’ – September 17, 2014
Megapixels mean nothing: Apple iPhone 6 trounces Samsung Galaxy S5 in camera shootout – September 17, 2014
The Telegraph reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘It’s peerless’ – September 17, 2014
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone available’ – September 17, 2014
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus: ‘Smartphone stars’ – September 17, 2014
Walt Mossberg reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone on the market’ – September 16, 2014
The Wall Street Journal reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone you can buy’ – September 16, 2014
Macworld reviews 64-bit iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Bigger is better (in the right hands) – September 16, 2014


  1. I am sure that Android zealots will quickly claim this as a victory for their team: market share and coolness factor of Samsung are irrefutably proven by the significant growth of theft vs. iPhone…

    This will be small consolation for me, though having had an iPad Air stolen (most likely) by a Dollar rental car employee, only to see it briefly appear on “Find My Phone” map not far away (Brooklyn). After reporting it go the NYPD, as well as Dollar’s head of corporate security, there was no luck in finding the device. At least the guy who stole it couldn’t do anything with it… It is quite annoying to see all those eBay listings for iDevices that are sold “as-is” with the “Activation Lock” screen (and the sellers pretending to not know what it means)…

  2. My coworker left his Android phone on his car seat. When he came back two hours later he found a broken window. And also 3 Android phones on the car seat. Of course that is here in Silicon Valley.
    I was just at the Oakridge Mall. (That is where Woz got his iPhone 5) There is no line at all. I was surprised because usually there are quite a few by this time.

  3. I wanted to let you know that I upgraded to ios8 today on an iPhone 5s and your app keeps quitting on me. I finally started using Safari to access your site. I’ll still read you somewhere but the app seems the best place, hope it gets fixed soon.

  4. While Android may not have this feature built in, there’s a very good app you can get that will do it plus many other things.

    At the risk of sounding like I’m advertising, it’s called Cerberus Mobile Security. And it’s only $7 for a lifetime license. You can get the app from Google Play. But if you want to be REALLY secure, I would suggest getting the disguised version they offer on their website. They also offer it as a zip you can flash from recovery mode as a system app so it can’t be uninstalled, not even by factory resetting the phone.

    But it does this, plus take pictures, video, screenshots, emails you the thiefs SIM card serial and phone number if he changes the SIM card, emails you the call log, emails you the text messages, changes the password on the device, sounds an alarm, activates GPS so it can be tracked via Google Maps, all remotely via the web interface or the Cerberus client app they have for both Android and iPhone as well. And it does it all via SMS commands so you can send commands to the phone even if there’s no wifi or mobile data connection.

    With the flashable zip, the only way the thief could uninstall it is by figuring out the name of the disguised app and then uninstalling it with any bloatware uninstaller. Or by completely reformatting the system partition of the phone and reinstalling the entire OS. But by the time they figured that out, you’d have more than enough info to get your phone back or at least press charges.

    TL;DR: Apple REALLY needs to step up their game. Again.

    1. “But it does this”
      But it does what, prevent a thief from using the phone at all? Because that’s what the iOS Activation Lock does for free. And, if it is REALLY preventing a thief from using the phone, there wouldn’t even be a call log to mine.

      “the only way the thief could uninstall it is by figuring out the name of the disguised app and then uninstalling it with any bloatware uninstaller”
      Let’s say I’m a thief. And I’m one of the types that wants to steal Samsung phones. I’m PRETTY sure that they have internet connections where they share information like this. Is this really one of those “stalking” applications I’ve heard about recently? They advertise “OH THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, YOU CAN KEEP TRACK OF YOUR KIDS AND JUNK!” when what they really mean to say is “INSTALL THIS ON YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER’S PHONE AND SEE WHAT THEY’RE UP TO, THE LYING CHEATS!!”

      1. You can lock the device remotely and set a password on it. But if you want to gather evidence against the thief, then ideally you’ll want to let them use the phone so you can mine it for call logs and text messages. You can also remotely boot it into recovery mode to do a factory reset to erase all your data, though of course this is only recommended if you’ve installed it as a system app. Otherwise you’d loose communication with the device by deleting the Cerberus app too.

        And yeah I suppose you could use it to spy on someone elses phone if you wanted to. But that’s not its intended purpose.

    2. Have you heard of “Find iPhone” I believe was on the first iPhone, I know it was on the 3G. You can see on a map where the phone is, lock the phone, place a message on the lock screen, change the passcode, wipe the phone, let someone call the phone you were using to track it. And then they added a “kill switch” instead of depending on the carriers. This is how they found the Boston terrorists. It is how I found my 3G when I lost it at a Target. Call logs are on your phone bill. If you have a Mac or another iDevice you can see your messages. If you don’t know how to use it Apple Care, or an Apple Store will be happy to help you. This is with a free, built in, easy to use App. Google needs to get in the game and not rely on third party apps to play on Apples court.

      1. The only difference between ‘Find My iPhone’ and Cerberus is that instead of having someone else call your lost/stolen phone, you can have your phone dial a number from the remote console.

        If the thief changes your phones SIM card, your phone now has a new number, and the old number just goes straight to voice mail. Then what are you going to do?

        Of course, that’s only a concern if your phone uses a SIM card.

  5. iPhone owners need to act quick when their phones are stolen. I know for a fact that people here in Philly steal iPhones only when they have a buyer who is willing to accept it, pay for it, and hook it up to a laptop quickly to try to bypass all of Apple’s security.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.