How to protect your iOS 7 device against theft

How to protect your iOS 7 device against theft
With the ubiquity of smartphones nowadays, it's not surprising in the slightest to see that enterprising pickpockets at large are targeting the expensive devices. This has created demand for security measures that can prevent theft, or at least help you reclaim your iPhone or whatever once it's been stolen, leading Apple (and Google) to create their own solutions. Started in 2010, Cupertino's Find My iPhone has been featured in a number of success stories in which owners of stolen iPhones used the tool to lead law enforcement authorities to the exact spot of their stolen iPhone. Unfortunately, the feature also had a major weakness: a wrongdoer could easily just wipe your device's data clean and restore it afterward with little to no hassle.

With iOS 7, Apple is finally putting an end to this flaw, by introducing a slightly obscured feature that you may not have even realized you have on your iOS 7 device: Activation Lock. It's obscure because there isn't a new setting that you need to enable – it's baked into the Find My iPhone feature, though the name can be misleading: it works for any iDevice now. In case you haven't enabled this must-have feature just yet, you should seriously consider doing so – there's only gain to be had. Simply go into Settings > iCloud > tick Find My iPhone and enter your Apple ID password, which will then link your particular device to your Apple account (you can link all your devices like this):



Once that's taken care of, nobody will be able to turn off Find My iPhone unless he also knows your Apple ID. Moreover, you won't be able to restore the device via iTunes – it'll cry foul – though it is possible to restore it if you enter the phone into DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) or recovery mode. This is the real good part, though: even if somebody does manage to restore your device using this method, he'll still have to enter your Apple ID.

Best of all, with the new Find iPhone app that comes pre-installed with iOS 7, you can wipe your sensitive data (say, you're a government spy), and unlike before, you'll still have the option to display a custom message along with a number to contact on the lockscreen of the stolen/misplaced device:



If you do get the device back, you'll be able to fully restore it via iTunes or iCloud to its previous state by simply entering your Apple ID:


If you do have a secondary iDevice, you can even use the Find iPhone app to search for the device, send a sound notification in case you've misplaced it, or go full nuclear and wipe every bit of data you have on it:


And that's about it, folks! With this level of security baked right into your iDevice, you can sleep a bit easier, knowing that theft is no longer as an attractive option. Just make sure to remove the protection if you do decide to sell off your iDevice, and you're tip-top!

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16 Comments

1. akn74

Posts: 3; Member since: May 07, 2013

I really find it weird that you can enable "Airplane" mode in the lock screen. That means anyone can enable Airplane mode and then the phone cannot be found with "Find My Phone, can it? Isn't that a Security flaw?

2. Dilmah

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

why it is weird? Whats the point to do like that when you can take away sim card? /facepalm

3. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

The iOS 7 improvement is already build into Samsung Galaxy devices ICS and above. It's under setting-> security -> remote controls You will need to log in your Samsung id to use it. Remember this feature was made available in 2012 and it work perfectly for me.

4. Dilmah

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

reinstall software and your samsung software security gone. Apple security is way better because if you want to activate your iDevice, you need internet connection and phone is registered through Apple servers….

6. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

May i know which Samsung Galaxy device do you own? When i lock my Galaxy device it stay lock even if you remove the battery and reboot the device. I know there is always way to hack the phone that is always the case, User control vs security, Everyone want complete freedom over their devices (rooting, jailbreak..etc) and yet they also want maximum security over thief,

8. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

What happens when you flash a new ROM?

5. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

it's quite a useful upgrade, iphone theives are running out of business

7. drnggaj33

Posts: 127; Member since: Feb 29, 2012

the best way to broke in the phone is just hard reset the phone doesnt matter what phone it is duh

9. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

RTFA.

16. Dilmah

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

wont work on iDevices because activation goes through Apple servers via internet, so you wont bypass it...

12. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

My Nokia N9 has this.

14. cashphama

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

hmmmmmmmmmmm

15. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

That is theft deterrent Apple invented. When will Android have this? One feature I love to have.

19. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Just buy iPhone and iPad, problem solved. Please keep Apple lock down and maximizing revenue tactic including the resale market out of Android manufacturer hands. I do think the Samsung approach is good enough for me. i have yet lost a mobile phone but do buy and sell phones and tablets on a regular basis.

17. jpalyekar

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 21, 2013

The airplane switch in the control panel can be disabled so that no one can put it in that mode. However as one user suggested if some one does remove the sim itself there is no option. Gladly however apple has ensured that the apple if would be required to use the phone even if it is hard reset or re-flashed or restored. This is a good thing atleast now people will not have to worry about losing their devices. The other good option is the restrictions section which allows you to password protect specific changes like deleting apps on you phone. You can configure it lock out the user from switching off cell usage etc

20. GeekMovement unregistered

Well with all these bugs that came with IOS7 it's nice to see some security enhancements added.

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