June 18, 2013
At the keynote address of its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple said that when the new operating system comes out in Fall of 2013, an ID and password will be needed to turn off a mobile device’s “Find my iPhone/iPad” feature or to erase any data. The same ID and password will be needed to reactivate a device after it has been remotely erased.
This step is being taken to stop the trend of “Apple picking” a growing wave of crime in which thieves target mobile devices, particularly iPhones and iPads. As mobile devices become more popular, stealing them has become a unique sort of crime, requiring some police units to create a special team just for crimes relating to mobile devices.
There is one misleading bit of information in this article on page 2. It says: “Right now, the find my iPhone app will only display an info screen and have it display a message and send out an annoying sound. It doesn’t stop the iPhone from being used.”
This is not entirely true. You can remotely lock your device (iOS 5) or Lock and Track your device (iOS 6) using Lost Mode in the Find my iPhone feature in iCloud. If your iOS device already has a passcode, you don’t need to enter a passcode, the device locks using the existing passcode.
Learn more about these existing iPhone protections here.