Apple Tackles Thieves With Remote iOS 7 Kill-Switch

Earlier today, Apple unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system at WWDC: iOS 7. The major update ushers in a host of new features including a new control center, a completely redesigned user interface, improved multitasking and a male voice for Siri. But one of the neatest new tricks is the ability to lock your device remotely: take that thieves!

If you've ever experienced the pain of having your iPhone stolen, one of the coolest additions to iOS 7 is the Activation Lock. As its name implies, this allows you to set your phone so it can't be activated again without your iTunes password.

New security features in iOS 7 make it harder for anyone who’s not you to use or sell your device. Now turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password [and] your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it. Which means your iPhone is still your iPhone. No matter where it is.

In other words, you can stop would-be thieves from enjoying your property at the press of a button.

Find My iPhone will continue to display a message with your phone number on the Lock screen even after a remote erase — just in case it's not actually stolen. If you manage to get it back, you can then reactivate it by entering your Apple ID and password.

Apple is hoping that this new feature will seriously deter would-be thieves from swiping iOS devices. While we doubt it will make much of a dent in the number of iPhone thefts, at least you'll be able to deprive the culprit of using your phone or making a profit.

The Activation Lock will be available on all iOS 7-compatible devices including the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad, iPad Mini and the iPod Touch (5th generation).

You can read more about the Activation Lock and the rest of iOS 7's goodies in our complete overview.


    But will it be backward iOS compatible? eg, when someone stole your phone a year ago, will it get locked when they update to iOS7 as I have reported mine with find my iphone already? That device should be still be linked to my apple ID originally? How far has Apple gone in this direction?

    My question is how selling your phone would work in this case? Maybe I missed something. If I have, please fill the blanks in for me.

      You missed something. You unlink the phone from your apple account (if you have optionally linked it), and then sell it. The new owner links it to their apple account (if they wish).

    We still block IMEI numbers in Australia don't we?

      We do but blocking the IMEI doesn't stop criminals from sending the phone abroad or just using the iPhone as an iPod touch. This system will wipe and deactivate the phone. If it is truly deactivated (like a new phone), the phone will be rendered a completely useless valueless brick. If the system works it should stop the trade in stolen iPhones.

      Last edited 11/06/13 10:22 pm

        If it works as you summarised, that's going to cause problems for business phones. If somebody is leaving on bad terms, you don't want them to be able to brick their phone on the way out.

        I'm assuming there's some kind of bypass they just haven't mentioned yet.

          You can un-brick it if/when you get it back.
          As for losing business data - well that's a risk with giving someone a phone - or a laptop for that matter.

          As for sending phones overseas, the average dickhead that snatches your phone is hardly a master-thief or part of an international smuggling ring. They are looking to sell the phones quickly, for as much money as they can get - and knowing that the $1000 phone they might swipe can't be sold if it cant connect to a network is some disincentive at least

          Last edited 12/06/13 8:21 am

    LOL... this was in Android phones way before apple thought of it...

      And Windows Mobile and Blackberry. Remote wipe is nothing new, though apple would have you believe it is.

        It's not remote wipe. Apple had remote wipe long before Microsoft, Google, etc.

        This is a remote kill switch. The US Justice department has asked all phone makers to install something like this, but only Apple has had the sophistication and technical expertise to make it work.

        remote wipe isn't really what the article is about.. it has been in iPhones for a while now though.

    Will it stop thieves from putting the device into recovery mode to wipe it? Personally I'd be happy with anything that nukes my stolen device. If I paid for it and someone else stole it, I'd rather nobody could ever use it again.

    Last edited 11/06/13 8:32 pm

      Wiping the phone doesn't get around the need for activation. If activation is blocked as Apple claims it is, then it won't activate.

    You can find your Iphone using IMEI on this website or

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