Kill Switch in iPhone is Working, Microsoft and Google to Follow Suit

Paul Lilly

iPhone thefts are down as a result of kill switch technology in iOS 7

One of the debates in the mobile phone industry is whether or not so-called kill switches can actually reduce smartphone theft. Well, early indications suggest that they do. Authorities in New York and San Francisco -- two locations where smartphone theft is a growing epidemic -- say they've seen a drop in iPhone robberies since Apple implemented its Activation Lock feature in iOS 7.

Looking at data in the six months before and after Apple implemented the feature, police said iPhone theft in San Francisco dropped 38 percent. Those in London -- another place where smartphone theft happens far too often -- fell 24 percent. As for New York, robberies involving Apple products dropped 19 percent, and those involving grand larcenies went down 29 percent in the first five months of 2014 compared with the same time frame in 2013, The New York Times reports .

Police have long believed that this type of antitheft technology would discourage crooks from stealing smartphones, and the data up to this point shows they're right. However, kill switch technology might not deserve all the credit. There are other factors at play, such as an increased effort on the part of law enforcement and tech companies to educate consumers on additional security measures to protect their handsets -- things like setting up passcodes.

Regardless of the debate, the industry is moving forward with kill switches. As it stands, both Google and Microsoft have plans to implement antitheft technology into the next version of their respective mobile operating systems. Between the three platforms -- iOS, Android, and Windows Phone -- almost every new device will have a kill switch.

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