Last year's iOS 7 update from Apple included a feature called iCloud Activation Lock. Basically, if you want to restore your iPhone to its factory settings, you have to enter your Apple ID and password.
So even if a criminal manages to steal your iPhone, they won’t be able to resell the device because they won’t know your account information.
Here’s the problem: Criminals aren’t the only ones erasing somebody else’s iPhone. Legally repairing and reselling used or unwanted iPhones is a big business, and iCloud Activation Lock is quite a problem for some companies.
Retailers are buying legitimate iPhones from repair shops and retailers. Some of them are returns and others are trade-ins, but the app still requires the previous owner’s password.
Without the ability to erase the iPhone’s data, the phone has to be broken down and sold for parts.
"The net result is that instead of that device being put back into the stream of commerce, it's destroyed, and the parts are recycled as best they can," says Eric Gurry of reuse and recycling company Mindful eCycling. "We're going in the opposite direction of where our society needs to go to effectively handle the millions of devices our society produces."
Hopefully Apple figures out a solution for these companies. If you're selling or giving away an iPhone, make sure it's wiped and reset before you pass it on - click here for instructions.