New Apple iPhone safety feature attempts to stop recent increase in violent smartphone thefts

DETROIT - If you own a smartphone, the scenes in the video above are scary; thieves prying a smartphone from a woman's hands in the subway and grabbing one on the street in broad daylight.

It's part of a growing crime epidemic.

Smartphone theft now accounts for an astounding one in three robberies across the United States.

Police even have a name for it - "apple picking."

"These devices are being taken point of gun, they're being taken after serious assaults, so it's no small crime," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

Last year New York City saw a 40% increase in mobile thefts. Students indicate that 40% of robberies across major U.S. cities involve mobile devices.

The challenge now is to take the incentive out of stealing these costly gadgets.

Until recently there has been little reason for smartphone makers and wireless carriers to improve security. After all, if your smartphone gets stolen you have to buy a new one.

But just this week, Apple unveiled a so-called kill switch that would deactivate an iPhone completely - the way you would a stolen credit card.

Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Apple says "With activation lock, if a thief tries to turn off 'Find My iPhone,' or if they even wipe the device entirely, they will not be able to reactive it because they don't know your iCloud username and password."

Obviously we don't know yet if hackers can get around Apple's new security feature but in the meantime you can protect yourself by being extra aware of your surroundings and keeping your iPhone out of plain view when you're not using it.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

More Apple Stories

Apple now accepting your banged-up iPhone Apple now accepting your banged-up iPhone

For the first time, Apple is accepting damaged iPhones as a trade-in item.

The best Super Bowl commercials from the past 50 years The best Super Bowl commercials from the past 50 years

Hundreds of ads have aired during the Super Bowl over the last half century, but only a select few have stood the test of time.

Google parent tops Apple as world Google parent tops Apple as world's most valuable company

Alphabet, Google's new parent company, topped Apple as the world's most valuable business in after-hours trading Monday.

Apple Is Late To The Virtual-Reality Game, But That Apple Is Late To The Virtual-Reality Game, But That's Apple For You Apple is building its augmented reality and virtual reality resources but, in classic Apple fashion, doesn't seem eager to be a pioneer in the market.
Will Apple Usher In Our (Truly) Wireless Charging Future? Will Apple Usher In Our (Truly) Wireless Charging Future? Bloomberg cites sources who claim Apple may unveil an iPhone with wireless charging capabilities.
It It's Not Just You; Smartphones Can't Stand The Cold, Either Blame the lithium-based battery.
A Cord-Cutter A Cord-Cutter's Guide To Watching The Super Bowl If you're one of the many Americans shying away from hooking up the TV, here are a few other ways to watch the big game.
Stock market skids after cautious comments from the Fed Stock market skids after cautious comments from the Fed

Stocks sank Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a cautious assessment of the global economy.

Why Apple Why Apple's Record Quarter Is Bumming Out Investors Apple reported record revenue and net income for its most recent quarter, but investors aren't celebrating.
What California Would Give Up To Ban Encrypted Smartphones What California Would Give Up To Ban Encrypted Smartphones A bill in the California state legislature would purportedly combat human trafficking — by outlawing encrypted smartphones.