New York subway riders got an interesting surprise on Saturday night: NYPD officers were handing out fliers at various stops encouraging iPhone users to upgrade their devices to iOS 7, the new operating system Apple released last week.
Four uniformed NYPD officers were at my subway stop tonight asking me to upgrade to iOS 7. Not a joke! pic.twitter.com/CGdR2RqtKJ— Michael Hoffman (@Hoffm) September 21, 2013
NYPD officers could also be seen outside Apple stores and on the Park Slope Parents Facebook page. The NYPD might be doing more to sell New Yorkers on Apple's new operating system than Apple itself, and for good reason: Activation Lock, the new iOS7 security feature, was lobbied for by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He says the feature will "reduce the incentive to steal by lowering the value of stolen devices."
Macworld explains Activation Lock works:
With Activation Lock enabled, someone who’s found or stolen your device can’t disable Find My [iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch] on the device without knowing both your Apple ID and that Apple ID’s account password. The person with your lost device can’t erase data on the device, either. And best of all, if you designate your device as being lost, whoever is in possession of it can’t restore or reactivate it—the phone displays only a phone number and a custom message about contacting you.
Basically, Activation Lock makes your iPhone worthless to a thief who might attempt to resell it.
The NYPD's enthusiasm for Activation Lock makes sense, considering the rate of iPhone theft in New York. The Village Voice reports that:
The statistics for New York are actually pretty staggering--70 percent of cell phones stolen on New York City subways and buses are iPhones. And it's a crime that continues to rise--during a 9-month period in 2012, 11,447 iOS devices, including iPhones, were reported stolen, which was an increase of more than 3,000 over the previous year.