find my iphone

Last fall, the U.S. national database for stolen cell phones went live. The goal of the database, which was a joint venture between several carriers, was to make it harder for stolen handsets to be activated on US networks.

But according to a new report, the database is having little effect on the growing rate of cell phone thefts. And law enforcement officials are starting to look at handset makers to come up with a technological solution…

The New York Times reports:

“George Gascón, San Francisco’s district attorney, says handset makers like Apple should be exploring new technologies that could help prevent theft. In March, he said, he met with an Apple executive, Michael Foulkes, who handles its government relations, to discuss how the company could improve its antitheft technology. But he left the meeting, he said, with no promise that Apple was working to do so.

He added, “Unlike other types of crimes, this is a crime that could be easily fixed with a technological solution.”

The problem is that thieves are getting smarter. Many stolen phones end up overseas, out of the database’s reach. And the ones that do stay in the country have their identifiers modified, so they still manage to fly under the radar.

What can companies like Apple do about this? Authorities are calling for them to find some sort of technological solution, like a remote kill switch. Look how much car thefts have gone down in recent years thanks to technical advances.

But does Apple really want iPhone thefts to stop? Aren’t they, many times, selling another iPhone if one gets stolen? Maybe. But look at the work it’s already doing with the Find My iPhone service. There’s obviously some interest here.

Maybe just not enough interest.

What do you think?

  • They need to prevent the iPhone being switched off

    • Self destruction

    • iphone4sgamer

      How would they without compromising battery life ? Hypothetical what if your on a plane and need to be in airplane mode to turn off service ?

    • iospixel

      Or start linking Find my iPhone to UDIDs and not email addresses.

      I don’t how the logistics of such a measure would work in the re sale market. But for phones under contract this could be something unique to apple and a selling point. No carrier allows the average joe to track by IMEI so apples UDID could be the next best thing.

      • Bad idea. UDID’s can be easily faked on a jailbroken device…

      • iospixel

        Yes. But only spoofed In apps. Furthermore how many devices are actually jailbroken in comparison to those that arnt.

        UDID + other HW components could allow apple to come up with a HW ID

      • use udid,wifi address (mac address)and serial number
        also they must add an option to turn on location services by using icloud + find my iphone

    • Yeah, maybe only allow the device to be shutdown if its unlocked

    • Boyan Georgiev

      Maybe prevent the off switch from showing when it’s locked with a passcode.

  • Falk M.

    Big fat no… “Find my iPhone” is so ridiculously easy to bypass or trick….
    Also, it’s not remotely close to powerful enough to serve you with the tools needed to get your device back unless the thief is carrying it with him, powered on and he’s not running low on battery of course… And provided he doesn’t know jackshit how to fool the device.

    • That’s why Apple needs to create some tough-to-crack “Find my iPhone” system. Here are a few current problems:
      * If the iPhone is passcode protected, but wifi off, the thief cannot access it, and you cannot find the phone. Both lose. Now if the thief is smart and knows that you cannot restore the iPhone on normal mode when passcode is on, he could know that you could restore on DFU mode. He restores it and now Find my iPhone is deactivated, and he has access to it, and you(as in 2nd person view) now cannot trace it.

      My idea is that Apple should have server-side Find my iPhone activation/deactivation. When someone wants to deactivate the Find my iPhone feature, it will require you to type in the icloud password that the service is registered to. Now if the thief restores it, sooner or later, he will want to use the internet, and as soon as the phone connects to the internet, it will connect to icloud and see that the iPhone had “Find my iPhone” activated and automatically activates it on the iPhone.

      That’s my opinion.

  • You know I actually thought of a anti theft concept that can be very f***ing useful but I just dunno how to Cree jailbreak tweaks 🙁 it’d awesome if some jailbreak tweak developer could hear me out

    • Create*

      • dedegarrido

        iCaughtU Pro 🙂 its just…. perfect, check it out!!

      • Yes I know bout icaughtu pro I had it when I was in ios 5 but I thought of alternative concept which I would like to see in cydia that’s all I mentioned before

    • Joe B

      There’s a tweak called GpowerPro that asks for a password before turning off the iDevice.

      • I have a totally different concept in mind!! My concept includes controlling the phone via SMS or email!!
        Control in the sense activate deactivate radios automaticall switch of the phone, get the location or longitude, latitude of curr ent location etc!!!!

  • the best iPhone cydia app for theft is the iCaughtU Pro.

  • MyFlammingSkull

    lol i got my car stolen with my iphone inside and tracked him with find my iphone and called the police.

    Edited: true story

  • Rob

    I also believe the iPhone has to ask for the password to turn off. When someone (bad one) steals or finds an iPhone the first thing they do is turn it off.

    • Jonathan

      What if he or she leaves the phone on standby the whole day. The phone can still die

      • Rob

        I was thinking the victim would act quickly and search for the phone. Also, the iphone being on “lost-stolen mode” could block sos calls, cut brightness to half, shut off bluetooth but maintain 3g 4g or wifi on for locating it. Battery saving mode can help.

  • Solution: (for any phone thats password protected ONLY) you must put in your pw in order to turn it off or place it in DFU mode.

  • Jonathan

    Thats why we have google in this world. People are not idiots.

  • dedegarrido

    They should do something similar to iCaughtU Pro, but better. Something that wouldn’t have “holes” if you remove the SIM card or try a hard reboot!!!

  • or people should just be more responsible of their products…

    • ChildishGambinoGotThatSwagger

      of course that would stop thieves.

      • thieves arent a problem if you dont give them an opportunity.

      • ChildishGambinoGotThatSwagger

        what about gun point robbery? it happens and its a great opportunity.

  • iCaughtU Pro + RecoveryGuard it’s the ideal security for an iPhone.
    No power offs, no rebooting, and with remote commands you can always be able to track your phone and turn on networks, 3G, Wi-Fi, you name it; and even using the discharge-reboot modus operandi, RecoveryGuard makes impossible to someone to restore your iPhone, so when it reboots they’ll just smile to the camera when they see that they just got a GPS with photo-taking capabilities.

    • Gorgonphone

      99% of users wont use that and the phone scan be opened and the battery removed..lol or is can just be restored in iTunes

      • RecoveryGuard disables restoring through iTunes
        I know for sure that most people won’t use it, and basically that’s an advantage since thieves will not be prepared for it, where I live most thieves aren’t capable of doing such a thing as taking the battery out of it, they know restoring does the trick in most cases.

  • No they aren’t because there used to be third-party apps that were better at theft recovery like Undercover and Apple took them off the App Store. I love Apple but one thing I hate about them is their desire for complete control. That’s why nothing beats a jailbroken iPhone but when the jailbreaking stops…. That’s when I might give a Samsung a whirl… If they stop making huge bricks as phones.

  • Javier Martinez

    There is a jailbreak tweak that requires a passcode before you can turn the phone off. This, coupled with some restrictions, makes for some pretty good security.

    • Gorgonphone

      no cause all one has to do is but it in DFU mode..lolo

      • RecoveryGuard disables restoring through iTunes, so… It matters.

  • Chuck Finley

    Since when is it Apple’s responsibility to look out for stupid people who get their property stolen?

    • If apple are going to make security features they should do them the best they can and try to patch flaws in it… is someone stupid if they got mugged? thats technically being stolen from…

      • Chuck Finley

        If I got mugged the first thing I would say wouldn’t be “Fuck you Apple, it’s your fault I got mugged”.

        All I’m saying is people should be more responsible for their own belongings.

  • s0me

    this is why iphones have a closed battery

  • iCaughtU Pro……+ Find my iPhone= best solution…

  • iDon’tWantToShareMyDetails

    Its really easy to combat this, just create a global database with stolen goods and force with law every purchase to be verified against this database. That won’t stop thieves or people that want something really cheap, but it would prevent scammers that re-sell the phones at retail prices.

  • Put igotya on IOS

  • Apple can’t stop “theft”. Nobody can. Wow, what a headline.

  • TekNoah

    This is why universal anything will never work. Thieves will continue to be thieves and people will be people so there will always be a person leaving something out and a person willing to buy a device on the cheap without knowing its origin. Greed and hunger are powerful forces and aren’t likely to be stopped with a nanny state or nanny service.

  • Gorgonphone

    umm stealing iphones especially 5s is of no value now cause they are tracking all EMEIs and marking them stollen.. if you try to estivate or use one of those banned phones your legit account will be shut down..

    so if you steel a 5 now you can only export it to another country which means you can no longer get $500 and such for it

  • FrankensteinBlack

    Yea, its all fun and iPhone games until some low life puts a foot to your arse and jacks your precious little iBaby. And Why blame Carriers if a stolen phone has weak controls around the ability to change the IMEI so that all the new multimillion dollar carrier database platforms don’t mean squat?

    Yes, some handset makers should do what can be done to help lessen the
    incentive (others already do a decent job hardening IMEIs). I just don’t care to be lying on a subway platform face up with a black eye, knife wound and Adidas foot print on my chest simply because I was just trying to making a phone call!

    Oh, and forget the technical types that can actually change a stolen IMEI and just start by simply stopping any low life dirt bag crook from walking into the genius bar (under warranty) and swapping a stolen phone for a clean one. Sayin…

  • The owner is the thief, remember the cellular phone insurance?

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