The new word on the street is that Apple has obtained a patent for a technology that will allow users to locate a turned-off iPhone. For years now, Apple has had their “find your iPhone” app available, which allows users to track their iPhone in the event that it gets stolen or lost. The downside to the app is that it’s only able to track a phone as long it remains on. If the phone dies or is turned off, it becomes virtually untraceable. This is good news for phone thieves who simply have to turn the phone off for a while before wiping it clean. Currently, the tracker app can only send your last known location to your iCloud once your phone’s been turned off. With this new patent, that’s about to change. Rumor has it that the new technology will be released in the next iOS update.
What This Means for You
The new technology will allow your iPhone to send your location to your cloud even when the phone is off. Although this is amazing news for iPhone users that live in fear of losing their phones, there is also another concern. As of now, if you want to go “off the grid” for any reason, you can just turn off your phone. If you turn your iPhone off right now, you are untraceable. With this new update, Apple will be able to locate you at any time, regardless of whether or not your phone is on or off. This is likely to make those who value their privacy a little nervous. If you have your phone on you, Apple will literally know your whereabouts at all times.
Is This Feature Totally Necessary?
The news about the new “find your iPhone” update comes way after the invention of the “kill switch” that Apple started implementing in its phones in 2014. A kill switch allows you to turn off your phone remotely in the event that it is lost or stolen. The kill switch feature can only be activated by an unlock code that only the owner of the phone knows. Without the user’s code, the phone becomes a brick, rendering it completely unusable to whoever has possession of it.
When the kill switch feature was introduced, phone thefts started plummeting. The state of California is passing legislation in July 2015 that will require new smartphones sold in the state to have some sort of remote kill switch option. This new law is backed by police, whom have seen a huge drop in cell-phone thefts since the introduction of the kill switch feature. The rest of the 49 states are expected to follow in California’s footsteps and enact new legislation governing kill switches in the near future. With this in mind, it’s hard to say whether Apple’s new patent will amount to a handy new feature, or just another potential invasion of privacy.
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