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The 7 best crime-fighting features of iOS 7

Tony Bradley | Oct. 3, 2013
Thieves love iPhones. Spoil their fun with the new locking, encryption, and data-saving features of iOS 7.


Let's be honest: Security isn't sexy. iPhone and iPad users are understandably enamored with iOS 7's photography features and Siri's new voice and likely haven't given a thought to the host of security additions under the hood. But iPhone theft is on the rise everywhere, and your device could be next.

Fortunately, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system is so secure, it's even converted our nation's law enforcement brass into iOS 7 fans.And while protecting your device may not be as fun as personalizing your iTunes Radio station, we urge you to implement these seven security features.

Find My iPhone authentication
Find My iPhone helps you locate your missing device, remotely lock it, send a contact message to it, and, if necessary, erase its data. The feature has been part of Apple's mobile operating system since iOS 5, but the first thing an iPhone thief typically does is turn it off. To thwart that tactic, iOS 7 requires the user to enter the password for the associated Apple ID account to disable the feature.

Activation Lock
Smartphones and tablets have sparked a criminal cottage industry of reselling stolen devices—just restore the device to factory defaults, and let the new owner set it up as their own. Well, that trick won't work any more, thanks to Activation Lock.

Activation Lock is a function of Find My iPhone. The feature ties the device to your Apple ID and requires your Apple ID password before anyone can restore or reactivate the device. As long as you have the Find My iPhone feature turned on in the iCloud settings, Activation Lock is enabled as well.

Erase authentication
Erasing a stolen iPhone to get rid of any tracking or monitoring apps is also a common tactic of criminals. iOS prevents this by requiring authentication to wipe or erase the device. Instead of using the Apple ID password, though, this authentication process uses the device passcode, so make sure you have one enabled.

Added Privacy settings
Privacy is on everyone's mind these days, but it can be especially tricky to manage on a mobile device with various apps accessing and interacting with everything from your GPS to your contacts and photos. iOS simplifies privacy controls by letting you manage permissions for each app on your device with a simple on/off switch. iOS 7 extends this capability, allowing you to designate which apps can access your microphone, camera, and cellular data.

Expanded data encryption
Apple has included impressive data encryption capabilities in past versions of iOS, but the benefits have been restricted to core iOS data. Third-party apps were able to leverage the encryption only if the app developer included the protection.


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