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Police say smartphone kill switches are working

Police say smartphone kill switches are working
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Finally, some good news about smartphone theft - it's getting better!

Back in April, I told you how there's never been a better time to get your smartphone or tablet stolen.  Nearly 3.1 million Americans had their smartphones stolen from them in 2013. Even worse, nearly 1.4 million of those phones were never recovered.

In response, the smartphone industry and the major players like Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung collectively made a "voluntary commitment" to have a mandatory kill switch built into all smartphones made after July 2015.

But it looks like the rate of iPhone theft is already going down, thanks in large part to Activation Lock, the iPhone's already built-in kill switch that was integrated in September 2013.

Police in San Francisco looked at the stats and found that since September, the number of iPhone robberies had dropped 38 percent. Police in London are reporting a 24 percent decrease in the number of iPhone thefts since September, too.

Meanwhile in New York, Apple robberies dropped 19 percent and grand larcenies involving Apple gadgets dropped 29 percent when compared to the same period the year before.

Click here to get Activation lock for your iPhone and iPad now. 

Android and Windows phone users will have to wait until the next software upgrades to get their version of a kill switch. In the meantime, Android users will want to use Android Device Manager to help recover a lost or stolen gadget, while Windows phone users can use the Find my Phone section of the Microsoft site.

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