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Apple Unveils Kill Switch Feature With iOS 8

Shortly after Apple released its latest operating system, the iOS 8, the Cupertino-based tech giant became the first smartphone maker to include a kill switch for its devices, PC World reported.

The kill switch software enables the owner of the smartphone to remotely lock and disable a device once it is stolen. The device can be unlocked again by inputting an authorized password.

This feature can only be activated by the subscriber. Law enforcers and mobile companies, such as Apple, cannot disable and unlock the devices using the kill switch feature, according to Huffington Post.

The aim of the new feature is to reduce the number of theft cases involving smartphones. Since Apple products are the common target of thieves, introducing the feature to users can ensure the protection of their devices, according to George Gascon, the District Attorney of San Francisco.

Gascon is one of the officials in California who pushed for the law requiring the kill switch feature in smartphones.

"Apple products are the most commonly targeted smartphones, so deploying this technology on a default basis will safeguard almost all iPhone users in the years ahead," Gascon said in a statement.

Back in 2013, Apple released a similar feature called the Activation Lock with its iOS 7. After its release, the security software reduced iPhone and iPad thefts by 19 percent in New York City and 38 percent in San Francisco, Daily Caller reported.

 "These statistics validate what we always knew to be true, that a technological solution has the potential to end the victimization of wireless consumers everywhere," Gascon said about the effect of the Activation Lock.

Unlike iOS 8's kill switch, the Activation Lock is not enabled by default on new mobile devices. This is what pushed California officials to draft a law that requires a system that will authorize the subscriber to lock the device's handset and render it useless.

The law regarding the kill switch was recently passed in August of this year. It requires phone manufacturers in California to include the feature in mobile devices manufactured after July 1, 2015.  

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