The New York Times reports that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Apple’s Activation Lock feature, introduced in iOS 7, has led to a “significant” drop in iPhone-related thefts in New York, London, and San Francisco.
“The introduction of kill switches has clearly had an effect on the conduct of smartphone thieves,” Mr. Schneiderman said in an interview. “If these can be canceled like the equivalent of canceling a credit card, these are going to be the equivalent of stealing a paperweight.”
Police officers in San Francisco report that iPhone robberies in the city fell 38%, London showed a 24% drop, while, the New York Police Department said that iPhone robberies dropped 19 percent, with grand larcenies involving the device dropping 29% in the first five months of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013.
Apple’s Activation Lock feature prevents stolen devices form being reactivated without the original owner’s iCloud password. The feature has received praise form various groups since it debuted in iOS 7.
Apple has already entered into a voluntary pact with other smartphone makers to include anti-theft technology in all smartphones sold after July 2015. The agreement states that every phone sold after that date will include the ability for users to remotely wipe data, and prevent reactivation of the phone. Apple’s Activation Lock and Find My iPhone features already satisfy most of the requirements of the agreement.