Thieves could potentially disable the iPhone’s Find My iPhone tracking feature, but don’t panic — there’s a simple fix.
A YouTube user called Miguel Alvarado has posted a video exposing the flaw, which — like most hacks on smartphones — requires quite a bit of digital dexterity to accomplish.
Nevertheless, it’s been seized upon by tech sites and blogs with alarm-inducing headlines.
And, yes, if a nefarious individual manages to purloin an iPhone running iOS 7.1, open the Settings menu and access the iCloud settings while simultaneously toggling for the Find My iPhone feature, it is possible to delete the iCloud account and therefore make the device impossible to locate via Apple’s tracking service. It is also possible to then reset the device without needing an Apple ID or password so that it can still connect to Apple’s other services like iTunes.
But that’s a big if. Even if someone manages to replicate each of the steps in Alvarado’s less-than-responsible video — a link to which is not being provided — the device’s IMEI number is not affected.
As soon as the phone is reported stolen, it is essentially blacklisted so can’t be sold and activated on a cellular network.
And, of course, there’s the phone’s passcode. None of the steps in the video are possible unless the thief can bypass the phone’s code. So make sure it’s activated! This is especially important on iPhone 4 and 4s handsets that seem most vulnerable to the hack.
But the same goes for Touch ID. If you own an iPhone 5s but are yet to activate its most innovative feature — its fingerprint scanner — don’t wait!
But whichever iPhone model you own, making sure it isn’t left unattended will offer similar levels of protection. After all, the phone has to be stolen before it can be hacked.
Wentworth Worldwide Ltd.