Forget iTunes Radio, thin fonts, and multitasking. The most important new thing about iOS 7 might be that your friendly neighborhood police officer loves it.
That’s right: In New York and elsewhere around the country, law enforcement officials are actively encouraging iPhone and iPad users to upgrade to Apple’s new mobile operating system. Why? Because the new Activation Lock feature in iOS 7 makes the phone very difficult to use or to wipe and resell if it gets stolen. Police and prosecutors hope that this technological development will lead to a reduction in smartphone thefts.
“Finding technical solutions that will remove the economic value of stolen smartphones is critical to ending the national epidemic of violent street crimes commonly known as ‘Apple Picking,’” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a written statement provided to Macworld. “More than 100 smartphones are lost or stolen each minute in the United States, and too many of those thefts turn violent or deadly.”
That’s why Schneiderman joined forces over the last year with San Francisco District Attorney General George Gascón to form Secure Our Smartphones, a group dedicated to pushing smartphone manufacturers to adopt new security features. Touch ID, the new fingerprint-activated security feature on the iPhone 5s, represents one way that security technology may help prevent theft. But iOS 7 may be the first sign that the efforts of Secure Our Smartphones are bearing fruit, as it will also protect hundreds of millions of older iOS devices.