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NYPD cops are telling people to upgrade to iOS 7 to fight crime

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Apple's new security features could cut down on theft


The New York Police Department is a big fan of iOS 7. According to several reports on Twitter, the department has officers out on the street distributing fliers encouraging iPhone owners to update to iOS 7, which has new security features that might just cut down on theft. Earlier this year, New York's attorney general called on Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to step up the tools they provide to prevent theft and facilitate device recovery. With Apple's latest update, it's made seemingly large steps in doing that.

"This is an important first step."

Devices running iOS 7 can be remotely secured when lost, making it so that a device's associated Apple ID and password must be entered before it can be wiped and used again. In effect, the new system could make an iPhone almost unusable when stolen, should the system work as planned. The NYPD is evidently hoping that it will discourage thieves, as so-called "Apple picking" theft has become a major problem. Last year, New York City's annual crime rate rose for the first time in two decades — a fact that Mayor Bloomberg blamed squarely on the theft of Apple devices.

The changes in iOS 7 have received praise from both New York's attorney general and the San Francisco district attorney. In a joint statement earlier this week, the two say that iOS 7 "is an important first step towards ending the global epidemic of smartphone theft." While they note that a reduction in theft isn't likely to come about overnight, they believe that tools like iOS 7's new remote securing feature, known as Activation Lock, are an important effort toward making smartphone theft a lot less fruitful.