Smartphone theft is a huge problem, especially when phones like the iPhone are in high demand and have a high resale value. In fact a study last year found that Apple’s iPhones are the most targeted smartphones in the UK. To combat this Apple introduced Activation Lock which was part of iOS 7 and thanks to the feature, iPhone theft in some cities went down.
Now that the feature has been out for about 2 years, how is smartphone theft faring? As it turns out rather badly, according to a report from Reuters which revealed that smartphone theft in cities like San Francisco has dropped by as much as 40%, and in New York it has decreased by 25%.
Even in London where the iPhone was the most targeted handset has seen some progress. According to London Mayor Boris Johnson, “We have made real progress in tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago.” Previously government officials had also praised Apple’s Activation Lock feature.
However as it stands, kill switches in smartphones aren’t a default option for now as some OEMs require users to opt in on the feature, but if kill switches were mandated by law, a study from last year revealed that Americans could save as much as $2 billion a year as it would mean less replacing of stolen handsets.