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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How To Protect iPhones And iPads From ‘Apple Picking’

University campuses, cities and retailers around the world are reporting an uptick in Apple product thefts. (Marko Kudjerski/Flickr)

University campuses, cities and retailers around the world are reporting an uptick in Apple product thefts. (Marko Kudjerski/Flickr)

Apple releases its new iPad today. The fourth generation of the tablet will cost consumers between $799 and $929.

The release comes as university campuses, cities and retailers around the country – and around the world – are dealing with a massive up-tick in thefts of Apple products.

The crime trend has become so pronounced, it’s been given a name: “Apple picking.”

Boston University alone has reported eight muggings in the last five months – the most recent one resulted in a stabbing.

And New York’s Mayor Bloomberg says Apple picking is singly responsible for that city’s recent upswing in serious crimes.

Law enforcement officials caution users to keep the devices tucked away out of public view.

But tech-savvy users say there are important steps to take before a device is lost or stolen – both to facilitate its return and to protect the important data stored inside.

Ars Technica senior Apple editor Jacqui Cheng has this advice:

7 Ways To Protect Your Data

1. Make sure that you’ve set up an iCloud account. If you have iTunes, you probably already have one. All Apple device owners can set one up. To check whether you already have one, go to iCloud.com. iCloud stores all your information – it will be there even if your devices are stolen. You can also access your information on all your devices.

2. Turn on the “Find my iPhone” feature on your phone. If your phone is stolen or lost, you can track the location on the iCloud website. You can also use this feature to put a message and a phone number onto your phone if it was lost, so that the finder can contact you. (This is called “Lost Mode.”)

3. Through the “Lost Mode” you can also “lock” your phone once it’s lost or stolen. You do this by adding a passcode (or locking code) if there wasn’t one already on your device.

4. If you know your phone/iPad was stolen, alert police to the general location of the device. Police departments are becoming accustomed to dealing with this.

5. Put a passcode onto your phone as soon as you get it. If you don’t, the thief can wipe your phone clean immediately (by plugging into their computer and restoring factory settings). The passcode won’t stop more sophisticated criminals, but it will prevent many of them from being able to re-sell (making it more likely that you’ll get the phone back).

6. Register your serial number somewhere as soon as you get the device. If it’s stolen you can report it to the carrier, and the carrier will block that device from getting back on the network.

7. If you have data on the device that you’re worried about, you can go to iCloud and do a “remote clean” where you wipe all the data off the device.

Do you have tips to add? Let us know in the comments section.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • J__o__h__n

    Stop talking on phones on the T.

    • http://tellmesomething.org/ Dylan Wise

      What about reading? Should I stop doing that? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    this reminds me when the ipod came out and people were targeted for the white earbuds.  probably not smart to wave these things around anywhere you would not wave a big wad of cash.  maybe apple can finally include that tazer app in the ipad 5 

  • lulu72

    It’s recommended that you “register your serial number somewhere.” Sounds smart, but where??

    • Karynmiller

      Producer Karyn Miller-Medzon here. I should have been more clear about registering the serial number. The suggestion is just to write it down in your own records somewhere, so that in case of theft you can report it to the police. However, if you’re in New York, you can actually register it (officially) with the police. Hope that’s more clear. The key is for you to have a record of the serial number.

      • lulu72

        Ah, makes sense. I was imagining something much more technical (and mysterious). Thanks so much for the reply!

  • Rodgman

    How about we publicly beat the holy s__t out of any thief that gets caught in order to set an example for the rest of the losers out there. then throw his sorry a__ in jail for a long time. But I guess that will never happen. Too many libs out there. “Oh it’s not his fault, he grew up in a disadvantaged household. Society has let him down”. That’s all fine and dandy for the liberal wimps, until it happens to one of them. Funny how their whole attitude changes real quick when they suddenly become a victim of a strong armed robbery.

  • http://www.ttnc.co.uk/call-management/ 0800 Numbers

    blog. Definitely given me something to think about.Some interesting thoughts
    on the subject. Looking forward to see what else you post in the future.

  • Sam


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