Apple Watch lacks necessary security features to dissuade theft

“The Apple Watch contains security measures to prevent thieves from accessing your data, but it doesn’t include the necessary features to dissuade thieves from trying to steal your device to begin with,” Jeff Benjamin reports for iDownloadBlog.

Apple Watch's Passcode screen
Apple Watch’s Passcode screen
“The problem stems from the lack of an Activation Lock-like feature on Watch OS 1.0,” Benjamin reports. “Unlike the iPhone, if someone steals your Apple Watch, they can easily reset the device (bypass the passcode), and pair it with a new iPhone logged in to a different iCloud account. In other words, it’s totally feasible to steal an Apple Watch and set it up on a different device as if you just purchased it from an Apple Store.”

MacDailyNews Take: Not good.

“The Apple Watch has a security problem that we haven’t had to worry about for almost two years on iOS. It’s not a security problem from a user data standpoint, but it is a security issue from a device theft standpoint,” Benjamin reports. “The fact that the Apple Watch lacks Activation Lock is an encouragement to thieves. It means that they stand to make a higher profit, as the device that they’re stealing is totally usable for whoever decides to buy the stolen property. Even if the thief doesn’t plan on reselling the Apple Watch, they can simply decide to use it with their own iPhone.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We have high hopes for Watch OS 1.1.

Until then, let’s be careful out there.

Expect press releases from opportunistic attorneys general and other sundry politicians in 3… 2…

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

26 Comments

  1. Quite the oversight by Apple. Why not have a password reset feature built into the paired iPhone app? Or, as the article suggests, require you to log in using your iCloud password.

    1. “Quite the oversight by Apple.”

      Glaring mistake, because when you activate Apple Watch the device is registered to your AppleID, so once anyone tries to attach it a different AppleID, there is nothing easier than making system denying it unless previous account owner would not de-list this Apple Watch.

      1. Received my Watch today (shipped yesterday!) and immediately activated a “long numeric password” to protect it. Then . . . I discovered the above article(s) and immediately removed the password until v1.1. It’s little more than intrusive and time-wasting right now. Very surprising, given the amount of time Apple engineers have had to release this product.

  2. It’s an oversight they need to fix, but it’s not as big an issue as it might appear.

    One of the issues with phones that causes them to be stolen is that they can be left places such as on tables, they fall out of pockets, purses, etc.

    I’ve now been wearing an Apple Watch for almost 2 weeks and I work out every day, among other things. I never take the watch off my wrist unless I’m at home so a thief would need to steal it off my wrist. Quite possible, of course, but not as opportunistic as the phone would be.

    1. What a joke. I’ve owned a lot of watches which cost more than an Apple watch and not one was ever stolen. None of them have any type of security. I do understand that Apple could make the watch more secure through a software fix, but really, what’s the risk in real life. If a thief was presented with the choice of pilfering a $350 Apple watch or a Rolex, he’d take the Rolex. If he were presented with the choice of a $17,000 Apple Edition watch or a Swatch watch, he’d take the Edition, regardless of any software protection.

      The ease of stealing a watch is not the same as the ease of stealing a cell phone.

      1. I would figure with the increase in number of Apple Watches in relation to Rolexes and the large number of people that have iPhones I would think there would be a significant incentive to steal an Apple Watch, Edition or not.

  3. And you lack the necessary features to disusade someone from stealing your pants. Guys. Accept some responsibility for protecting your stuff. Apple is not your Mommie!

    1. Good pig pockets can get a watch in a few seconds. Someone with a gun or knife not much longer. The kill switch for iPhones has been the best deterrent for theft.

  4. They aren’t as susceptible to snatch and run tactics. A guy isn’t gonna be able to sit there trying to undo your band, put your hand in your pocket and there you go, they can’t get your watch band undone anymore, problem solved; or better yet make a fist and knock the fcker out.

    But, yeah, anyway, who would want a watch that’s been all over someone’s greasy sweaty arm every waking moment as far back as possibly April 24, 2015? That reason alone should be good enough and should only get more disgusting every day that passes.

  5. So just because it is an Apple watch it needs to have more “anti theft measures” than a “regular” watch? I’m pretty sure it is just as easy to steal any watch and get it to work with you wardrobe without a passcode or fingerprint. Anyone with a mechanical watch wears more money on their wrist than an Apple watch is worth, and likely never though about someone stealing it until they read this click bait headline. It’s just a watch, not any more or less at risk than any other watch. If you want to keep it protected, wear a long sleeve shirt.

  6. an Hermes Birkin bag can cost between $10,500 to $150,000, but has no built in antitheft device. A diamond engagement ring can be worth $5k – $35k

    Does each Apple Watch have a unique ID that can be discerned when paired with the Apple iPhone?

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