Thanks to their high resale value, iPhones have always been a big target for pickpockets and thieves. But in big cities like New York and San Francisco, iPhone thefts are falling drastically, all because of Activation Lock.
Baked into iOS 7 and above and enabled automatically when you set up Find My iPhone, Activation Lock prevents your iPhone or iPad from being used by another person without your Apple ID.
Nevertheless, smartphone theft in California is already dropping because “some manufacturers have already started installing the software-based switches on the devices they sell,” according to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.
A similar report in June 2014 determined that Activation Lock helped decrease iPhone robberies by 38 percent in San Francisco, 24 percent in London and 19 percent in New York in just six months after Apple released the feature.
The biggest improvement was seen in London, where iPhone thefts dropped an impressive 50 percent. Mayor Boris Johnson says that real progress has been made in “tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago.”
Available on iOS 7 or later, Activation Lock is a smartphone kill switch feature that gets turned on by default when you set up Find My iPhone on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
The feature makes it harder for anyone to use or sell your device if it’s ever lost or stolen by requiring your Apple ID and password before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone on your device, sign out of iCloud or erase and reactivate your device.