Another day, another iPhone feature you need to have, lest you get left way behind in the desolate wasteland that is owning obsolete technology. And this latest one isn't just for keeping up with the tech-savvy Joneses. It's also a safeguard against having your precious smartphone stolen.
Yesterday, Apple debuted the new "Activation Lock" feature, which they're calling a "really powerful theft deterrent." Innnnnteresting! Here, what you should know about the crime-fighting technology ...
How it works: First, you've gotta use the existing feature, "Find My iPhone," which allows owners to trace their phones by showing where your missing device is on a map, playing a sound to help you locate it if it’s lost in your house, and even remotely locking your device or wiping it to protect your data. As long as you're using "Find My iPhone," you can use Activation Lock.
If your phone is stolen, the feature kicks into gear by prompting thieves to supply the phone user's iCloud username and password -- even if they want to turn off "Find My iPhone." If they fail to do so, the phone becomes inoperable. No one will be able to re-activate or get into the device without the original owner’s Apple ID and password.
Why it's important: Law enforcement authorities have said they're dealing with an "epidemic of street crime" involving iPhones, iPads, and other smart devices and tablets. Plus, about 1.6 million Americans had their smartphones stolen last year, according to Gascon. And as if that wasn't enough, approximately 40 percent of robberies in major cities now involve mobile devices, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
The response so far: While law enforcement and quite a few people are encouraged by the new feature and its attempt to quash the growing trend of smartphone and tablet theft, not everyone's thrilled. Paul Boken, whose daughter was shot dead by a man who tried to steal her iPhone, expressed his disappointment, saying that it is not a complete feature, being that a burglar is not going to ask the iPhone owner to see if they're on iCloud before stealing.
How to get it: Activation Lock is a feature that will be included in the new iOS 7 software update, which is coming this fall.
What do you think about the new effort to protect iPhones and iPads against theft?
Image via Apple.com