Throughout the past several years, Apple has always taken a neutral approach to tracking stolen iPhones, iPads, iPods and other devices that it sells. Most often, the Cupertino-based corporation would leave it to legal authorities to take care of these incidents of stolen property.
With the theft of Apple products playing a large factor in the slightly increasing crime rate in New York City, however, Apple is now buckling down and pairing up with the New York Police Department to track stolen devices. 72 percent of those devices are typically within city limits.
New York police officers are now providing the unique identification numbers — known as an IMEI — of stolen phones to Apple, which can in return track down any cellular-enabled iPhone or iPad, regardless of which mobile provider it is connected to.
Prior to this move, the only security measures that Apple took with stolen devices was the “Find My iPhone” or “Find My iPad” app. Once the app is installed, a user can remotely lock the device or send it a message. That is, until the thief restores the device.
The four largest carriers in the United States — AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile — plan to combat the black market for mobile phones by establishing a shared database of stolen handsets. The database will utilize serial numbers to render the stolen phones inoperable.