Activation Lock, a so-called “kill switch” for iOS devices, is working. First introduced in iOS 7, Forbes reports that iPhone thefts are significantly down in major cities like San Francisco, New York City, and London.
While that’s definitely good news for iPhone owners, Samsung smartphone users weren’t so lucky. At least in New York City, robberies and grand larcenies of Samsung Android devices have risen 41 and 40 percent, respectively.
The feature basically makes a stolen iOS device worthless. After stealing an iPhone or iPad, a thief can’t deactivate Find My iPhone or wipe the device without knowing the associated Apple ID and password.
It was turned off by default in iOS 7, meaning the user had to switch on the feature. But that’ll be different for Apple’s newest flagship handsets – the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Activation Lock is turned on by default in iOS 8, meaning those expensive new iPhones shouldn’t be a big target for thefts.
Back in August, California enacted a law that requires a kill switch be enabled for smartphones sold in the state by July 1, 2015. Minnesota also recently introduced a similar law.
Google has promised that its next version of Android will offer a kill switch.
For other recent news, see: Third-party keyboards in iOS 8 are officially a hit as SwiftKey racks up 1 million downloads, U2 is working with Apple on a new digital music format so you’ll buy songs again, and Where and when to purchase a new iPhone 6 on Friday, Sept. 19.