NYPD cops have been handing out fliers at Apple Stores, Best Buy outlets and subway stations urging iPhone and iPad owners to download Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS7.
“Attention Apple Users!!!!!” reads the notice, which bears an NYPD logo.
“By downloading the new operating system, should your device get lost or stolen, it cannot be reprogrammed without an Apple ID or password,” it states.
iOS7 has two major security features that could turn iTheft into a profitless crime, making the devices worthless to thieves and easier to find by cops.
With the Activation Lock feature, thieves can’t reprogram a stolen gadget without knowing the owner’s Apple ID and password.
“If you have a phone where you can take out the SIM card and replace it, it has value,” one law-enforcement source said. “If you can’t do that, it’s a useless piece of plastic, so there’s no value when it’s stolen.”
The Find My iPhone app has helped cops track down stolen devices, even on crowded streets blocks from where the theft occurred.
Between last May and Sept. 15, cops have recovered stolen property using Find My iPhone in 114 incidents, resulting in 159 arrests, an NYPD spokesman said. In that time, cops recovered 99 iPhones, seven iPads, one MacBook and two iPods.
The problem is that criminals have figured out a way to disable the app.
Under iOS7, the Find My iPhone feature cannot be shut down without the an Apple ID and password.
The NYPD is also urging Apple users to register their gadgets through the Community Affairs Bureau. This makes it easier for cops to track down owners of recovered devices.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco DA George Gascón both praised Apple.
In a joint statement, they said the security upgrades “will prove to be an effective deterrent to theft,” and, “The widespread use of this new system will end the victimization of iPhone users, as thieves learn that the devices have no value on the secondary market.”
“This is an important first step towards ending the global epidemic of smartphone theft.”
Still, they said, the best way to keep iPhones and iPads safe is by being alert.
“It is vital that consumers be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially when using their smartphones in public places,” they said.
Republished with permission of The New York Post