…for those seeing iOS 7 Activation Lock as the be all end all of phone theft, I’m sorry but this isn’t it.

I should point out that I am yet to use iOS 7 beta. Therefore, this article is partly speculative but rest assured that some concrete facts are included as well.

Apple’s new anti-theft feature in iOS 7, Activation Lock, is being hailed as the absolute deterrent to phone theft. As mentioned earlier, I am yet to try iOS 7 out but from what I can surmise, Activation Lock is anything but perfect.

The decision to tie the Apple ID of a user (owner) to an iDevice is all well and good in theory. Sure, it serves as a deterrent to phone thieves and their nefarious ways. But what happens if you choose to sell your iDevice to someone else? Does Apple allow a user (original/first owner) to ‘untie’ his Apple ID from his iDevice? If Apple doesn’t allow this, then people will not be able to sell their used iPhones, iPads and iPods.

I hope I’m wrong about this speculation because if not, it would mean Apple has again delivered a ‘product’ that is not well thought out. Scott Forstall is gone; who will take the fall this time? But I digress.

More importantly, Activation Lock is purely a digital lock. In other words, a software lock. I would like to remind Apple that every form of digital security can either be defeated or circumvented.

For evidence of this truism, Apple only needs to look at all their iOS devices – they have all been consistently unlocked and jailbroken. The used phone market is a thriving industry and there are criminal organisations dedicated to phone theft. It follows that Activation Lock will be defeated in due course.

I submit that the perfect anti-theft implementation will be a combination of well thought out procedures and software and not just a simple software lock. So for those seeing iOS 7 Activation Lock as the be all end all of phone theft, I’m sorry but this isn’t it.

This article was first published on Wale’s blog.

Olawale Sanni Author

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