There are risks to owning a shiny new smartphone: the lingering possibility of damage, things not working correctly, or maybe even buyer’s remorse. But theft has also become a growing trend, something lawmakers have attempted to address over the past few years. Finally, all that effort is leading to some noticeable results, as thefts of one of the industry’s most recognizable devices have started to go down.
Authorities in New York City, San Francisco and London claim thefts of the iPhone started going down once Apple implemented its so-called kill switch, which lawmakers have been asking for for a while now. The feature, known as Activation Lock, prevents users in possession of a stolen phone from turning off Find my iPhone, signing out of iCloud and erasing or reactivating a device. It’s these kind of measures that make it difficult for thieves to prey on iPhone users, the results of which speak for themselves.
According to authorities in San Francisco and London, iPhone theft has gone down by 38-percent and 24-percent, respectively—and that’s just six months of data. As Apple continues to bolster the technology that figure will likely continue to increase. Meanwhile, in New York, iPhone robberies have dropped 19-percent, which is pretty significant for such a densely populated city.
“The introduction of kill switches has clearly had an effect on the conduct of smartphone thieves,” said attorney general of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman. “If these can be canceled like the equivalent of canceling a credit card, these are going to be the equivalent of stealing a paperweight.”
Other security measures have been implemented in previous years, such as passcode locks, biometric technology and more, all contributing to the decrease in smartphone theft. Even still, don’t go wielding your device down dark alleys—that’s just common sense.