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"Activation Lock" in iOS 7 responsible for pronounced decrease in iPhone thefts, lawmakers say

The "Activation Lock" feature Apple introduced in iOS 7 is already having a discernible impact on crime, according to law enforcement officials in a few major cities. If you recall, Activation Lock prevents would-be thieves from turning off "Find my iPhone" without first entering the appropriate iCloud credentials. What's more, even if a thief wipes a device clean, reactivating the device requires the original device owner's credentials.

The end result? The iPhone remains a popular device for consumers, but not so much for thieves.

The New York Times reports:

Police officers in San Francisco and London say that after Apple introduced its measure, called Activation Lock, last fall, iPhone theft fell significantly. Comparing data in the six months before and after Apple released the feature, the police said iPhone robberies in San Francisco dropped 38 percent, and those in London fell 24 percent.

The police in New York said that robberies involving Apple products dropped 19 percent and those involving grand larcenies dropped 29 percent in the first five months of 2014, compared with the same time period from 2013.

In recent years, Apple has slowly but steadily added multiple security layers to iOS in case a device is lost or stolen. One of the more recent enhancements was the introduction of Touch ID on the iPhone 5s last Fall. Looking ahead, iOS 8 will give iPhone and iPad users even more piece of mind with a new feature called "Send Last Location." As the name implies, the feature will automatically send the last known location of an iPhone to Apple when the battery level reaches a critical level.

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