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New Apple mobile software will sport anti-theft feature

Published on Jun 11, 2013 9:13 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Smartphone thieves are set to have a harder time after Apple Inc introduces an "activation lock" feature in its new mobile software, a move that comes amid pressure from authorities and consumers for companies to do more to stem a tide of smartphone theft.

The new feature, available with the launch of iOS 7 in the fall, will require a legitimate owner's ID and password before an iPhone can be wiped clean or re-activated after being remotely erased, Apple executives said in a brief outline at company's annual developers conference.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon plan to meet with representatives of Apple, Google Inc's Motorola Mobility, Samsung Electronics and Microsoft Corp to discuss theft prevention on Thursday.

Both prosecutors have criticized the cellphone industry for what they say is a perceived unwillingness to solve an escalating problem. About half of San Francisco robberies last year involved stolen mobile devices, Gascon has said.

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple demonstrates the new activation lock security feature in iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 10, 2013 in San Francisco. -- PHOTO: AP
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