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 Is At Least Thinking About Fixing Autocorrect Apple Is At Least Thinking About Fixing Autocorrect's Awkward Moments A newly released patent-filing shows Apple knows it could improve the often unpredictable autocorrect.
Dead Body Found Inside Apple Dead Body Found Inside Apple's California Headquarters Authorities confirmed a gun was discovered near the body.
Apple Apple's quarterly revenue falls for the first time in 13 years

Apple says quarterly revenue fell for the first time in more than a decade.

FBI weighs whether to tell Apple about vulnerability FBI weighs whether to tell Apple about vulnerability

FBI Director James Comey says the FBI is still studying the Apple software vulnerability. 

These Robots Want Earth (And Space) To Be A Cleaner, Greener Place These Robots Want Earth (And Space) To Be A Cleaner, Greener Place Just some robots doing their part to tidy things up and promote recycling.
The FBI Paid Over $1 Million To Unlock San Bernardino Shooter The FBI Paid Over $1 Million To Unlock San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone FBI Director James Comey implied the bureau paid over $1.26 million for the software used to access the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.
The FBI Reportedly Asked Pro Hackers To Crack San Bernardino iPhone The FBI Reportedly Asked Pro Hackers To Crack San Bernardino iPhone The FBI may have paid professional hackers to break into the San Bernardino iPhone after Apple refused to help.
Emotion surrounding FBI/Apple clash was Emotion surrounding FBI/Apple clash was 'unproductive,' Comey says

FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that the court case surrounding a locked iPhone "was creating an emotion around the issue that was not productive."

Apple Apple's Encryption Fight With The Government Continues In New York The Department of Justice is moving forward with a court case which could compel Apple to help them unlock a seized iPhone.
The FBI The FBI's Decryption Tool Probably Won't Work On Your Newer iPhone It's not clear what kind of vulnerability the third-party software exploited, but apparently it won't work on newer iPhones.