This one tiny gizmo has halved smartphone theft in London

Make sure you’ve got it activated on your phone with our 10-second guide

It’s been almost a year-and-a-half since Apple, the world’s most valuable company of all time, introduced its “Activation Lock”.

It’s the nifty little bit of in-phone tech that lets you completely bar all access to your phone, if you happen to lose it or if it’s stolen. It’s also known as the “kill switch”.

Apple isn’t the only one to introduce a kill switch, either – Samsung and Google implemented their own versions for their smartphones last year, and Microsoft’s is apparently on the way.

What does the kill switch do?

Well, if a fast-fingered Artful Dodger type thinks they’ve got the better of you by pick-pocketing your precious phone, you can show them who’s boss by making your smartphone utterly useless, by using the power of remote technology to reduce it to nothing more than a rectangular circuit board with a smooth glassy cover and a permanent lock screen to taunt the thief. How satisfying.

You probably know about the kill switch already. But even if you don’t, there now seem to be enough people within London’s criminal community who have heard of it that stealing your smartphone is only half as attractive as it used to be.

Smartphone thefts in London dropped some 50% in the year after the remotely-activated kill switch was introduced on iPhones in September 2013, according to official reports.

San Francisco saw a drop of 40% over the same period, and New York 25%.

How to check your kill switch is activated…

 

 


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