why stolen iPhones are unusable

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An Apple Store in New York (USA). Illustrative photo.
An Apple Store in New York (USA). Illustrative photo. (KENA BETANCUR / AFP)

Bad joke for the looters who attacked the Apple Store in several cities in the United States, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Apple smartphones and tablets on display in Apple brand stores are protected against theft in a very special way: they are connected to the store’s Wi-Fi network and, as soon as they leave without having been unlocked by staff, they lock automatically and are reduced to what is commonly called the “brick” state. They are no longer used for anything. Trying to restart or reset them has no effect. This system, which is called “kill switch”, has been in existence since 2013. It was imperfect and hackable at first, but is now known to be tamper-proof.

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That’s not all. Thanks to GPS, the devices can be located. And to top it off, a message appears on the screen: “This iPhone has been disabled and is geotagged. Authorities will be notified “. In fact, we’ve seen unusable stolen iPhone videos on social media, possibly posted by annoyed thieves.

This security also protects individuals against iPhone theft. By connecting to Apple’s iCloud service, you can put the device in “stolen mode”, which in effect blocks it remotely. The phone is also geolocatable, provided, however, that geolocation has not been disabled before and that the device can connect to a network to transmit its location. Apple was the first to develop this sophisticated system. Today, other manufacturers like Samsung or Google also offer this kind of security.

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