theft of iPhones and iPads is so widespread itís known
as "Apple picking."
Apple devices arenít the only targets. Nearly one in
three robberies nationwide involves the theft of a
mobile phone, according to the Federal Communications
Commission. The problem is so severe in their cities
that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this summer
convened a "smartphone summit" to urge the
smartphone industry to implement technological solutions
to thwart the robberies.
some makers of wireless mobile devices, notably Apple
Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., are taking steps to
fight back against the thieves.
new iOS 7 mobile operating system, includes a security
feature called Activation Lock that automatically works
with the free Find My iPhone feature. Find My iPhone is
built into iOS 7 and can be enabled in Settings.
Lock basically ties your devices to your Apple ID.
Criminals who steal phones typically "wipe"
the devices clean so they can resell them. Now any thief
who wants to turn off Find My iPhone, erase the device,
or reset the device will be required to enter the Apple
ID and password.
of such security measures say they will discourage
thieves from stealing phones because they will not be
able to sell them.
Castro, who lives in Oakland, Calif., started spreading
the word about Activation Lock as a community service as
soon as it came out in October.
friendís cousin was killed for her iPhone in St.
Louis," said Castro, 39. "My goal is to
educate others. I had no idea that there was such a
black market for smartphones."
notes that Activation Lock wonít stop someone from
robbing you for your phone. But it will discourage
thefts, he says, by making stolen phones "nearly
has the potential to decimate the market for stolen
iPhones, and if there is no demand, then there will be
no reason for criminals to mug people for their iPhone,"
he wrote in Oakland Local, a popular community blog.
resident Dan Jewett lost an Apple laptop when his home
was burglarized. Heís glad that Apple enhanced the
security of the iPhone and would like to see other
smartphone makers follow suit.
all carry so much personal info on our phone these days,
and you donít want that in a criminalís hands,"
said Jewett. "It is time for corporate citizens to
step up and make these phones into paperweights for
those who steal them."
Lock also has won praise from law enforcement officials.
are pleased that Apple released a mobile operating
system that includes a theft deterrent feature called
Activation Lock," Gascon said in a statement.
"This is an important first step toward ending the
global epidemic of smartphone theft."
office is urging iPhone users in San Francisco to
download iOS 7, and hopes that other manufacturers will
follow Appleís lead.
are not the only devices targeted, which is why we
continue to pressure the other leading manufacturers of
smartphones to quickly implement effective theft
deterrents that protect their customers from violent
crime," he said.
partners with Absolute Software, which sells device
tracking and recovery software and services for PCs,
laptops and mobile devices. Samsungís Galaxy S4
smartphone includes Absolute software that allows owners
to remotely delete files and lock down the stolen
device, rendering it useless to thieves.
you lose your iPhone or if it is stolen, Apple advises
trying to locate the device using Find My iPhone. You
can also put the device in "Lost Mode," and
keep track of its location and indicate to anyone who
comes across it that the device has been lost or stolen.
And if you want to delete all of your personal
information from your missing device, you can erase it
says that because Activation Lock requires an Apple ID
and password to turn off Find My iPhone, the chances of
getting a lost or stolen phone back are improved because
the layer of security may cause "finders
keepers" to think twice.
can help you keep your device secure, even if it is in
the wrong hands, and can improve your chances of
recovering it," Apple says on its website.
"Even if you erase your device remotely, Activation
Lock can continue to deter anyone from reactivating your
device without your permission."
what if you forget your password? You can reset it at My
Apple ID (appleid.apple.com) or by contacting Apple
Support and going through the steps to verify your