Android Lollipop features a kill switch to discourage thieves

Android Lollipop features a kill switch to discourage thieves
A few months ago, a law passed in California, in response to the rise in smartphone thefts in the past year, which requires manufacturers to include a kill switch in their handsets. The switch must give the owner of the device, or the police, to render it useless remotely.

As we know, being able to remotely find, lock, or wipe your phone has been a feature of Android for some time now. However, if a thief managed to do a factory reset of your handset before any of the required steps were taken, that feature would be rendered useless.

Well, Android 5.0 adds another step of protection, when it comes to such cases. The new "Factory Reset Protection" will require one to enter the proper password, if they wish to wipe a phone to its factory defaults. When you combine this with the remote lock feature - you've got yourself a "Kill Switch" feature that actually functions in a much less scary and more practical way than the name suggests.

Of course, it makes no sense to add the Factory Reset Protection to handsets sold only in California. First - smartphone theft is a worldwide issue, and second - such a setup would require more work from the manufacturers. So, naturally, the feature will be available across all Lollipop-loaded devices.

source: Re/code

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26 Comments

1. Busyboy unregistered

It's about time. Glad it's being pushed though

14. AwesomestMaximuss

Posts: 148; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

I thought samsung devices always asked for a password before factory reset..

23. shamashu9

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

enjoy Android Lollipop if it ever comes to your phone

2. jesusnexo unregistered

Still can get into recovery and wipe from there can't you?

3. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

Good point.

5. paul.k

Posts: 287; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

No info on that yet, one can only hope some kind of protection has been put in place

10. hmd74

Posts: 539; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

If that had a password, just flash a Rom from computer :|

11. Awalker

Posts: 1962; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I doubt most criminals know what to do with that but Google could also require a password for recovery mode.

13. tacarat

Posts: 852; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Most folks, crooks included, aren't that savvy. iPhones require an activation check, and something like that could be built into an android phone too. Given how few people get their IMEIs/Serial numbers blocked after losing a device, it might be a minor issue. Forcing adoption of a technology is something Apple does pretty well. The Motorola Atrix had an activation lock and fingerprint reader years ago. Meh.

4. AlikMalix unregistered

Where are the Apple fanboys screaming "welcome to 2012" or "we had this for years"? Just saying....

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Since it's been implemented starting iOS 7, is hasn't been in iOS for years. That's why ;)

9. Awalker

Posts: 1962; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

All this does is add password protection to the factory reset option.

12. KonaStang4.6

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Apple users don't need to brag and make fun of things like that. We just enjoy our phones. We don't need to jump on every single opportunity to make fun of android to make ourselves feel like our purchase of our phones are justified.

15. WallStreetWolf

Posts: 289; Member since: Apr 08, 2013

Apple owners are in the minority and very few go out of their way to prove superiority because they are indifferent to the nerd-dom of these websites. Honestly, I see very few people going crazy to tout Apple and when they do, they usually make outrageous claims that say "troll" rather than "enthusiast". I will say that Android phones have been useless in terms of theft protection and this is a nice addition should it work as stated.

18. Awalker

Posts: 1962; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

That's not true at all. There has always been third party options and all users have been able to natively remotely lock or wipe their phones for a while now. This adds another layer of protection.

24. a_tumiwa

Posts: 393; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

actually apple is not 100% safe too , my cousin forgot his ipad password and got a black screen because his ipad became unusable, and asked me to help him, because it is imposibble to know the password, i use a forget password technique and did factory reset (there is a trick to do that but not much people know)

25. AlikMalix unregistered

Explain: what did you do using "forget password technique" in order to factory reset it?

7. darkvadervip

Posts: 366; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

Because it's worthless for us to boast! I'm happy for you all and actually like what I see in the nexus 6. I'm just sitting in the cut hoping apple plays catch up on some much needed improvements on the next years iphone. Lol

8. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

No surprise that the government's kill phone initiative finally comes to Android where it will be impossible to get rid of other than a custom ROM. Thank goodness Android is still open enough so people can get rid of Carrier IQ, NSATrackAndKillPhone, and much of the rest of the spyware Google and the telecoms put on Android phones.

26. AlikMalix unregistered

based on your comments, I imagine you sitting behind the computer in a basement with a tinfoil hat, no.., no, an armadillo hat (The Dukes of Hazard movie w/ johnny knoxville) typing away at every article on PA... Is there anything you do like in the tech world today?

16. GenericFanboy

Posts: 50; Member since: Sep 05, 2014

Why no mention of the "reactivation lock" feature found on the s5 which requires you to provide the password to your Samsung account after a factory wipe. Sad thing is though I hear you can flash a new rom to bypass this. This feature won't be useful unless the thief has stolen a laptop too.

17. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Hey, yo! What Android version is your phone... gimme that! Nah, I'll rob it anyway and sell it to a clueless junkie since you made me stick my Glock in your face for so long because you couldn't tell immediately me that it ran Android 5.

19. hellonerds

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

My fist is my kill switch lol..

20. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Provided every Android phone is updated to Android 5.0 that is

22. dorfoz

Posts: 156; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

If only.. All these great features, and again. Only a select few will get it. Sad but true. It's like seeing a novice driver with a fast car get beaten by a pro with a minivan on a track.

21. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Provided every Android phone is updated to Android 5.0 that is

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