Google and Microsoft are jumping on board with kill switches to combat smartphone theft. This news isn’t surprising given the success Apple has had with their own kill switches.
Law enforcement officials have been pressuring Google and Microsoft to follow Apple’s lead for more than a year now. Officials are slated to announce the two tech giants intention to introduce kill switches later today.
What caused the change of heart for Microsoft and Google? Check out some of these statistics put together by law enforcement about iPhone thefts.
Apple introduced their kill-switch feature back in September 2013 with iOS 7. In New York, iPhone theft plunged 19% in the first five months of this year. That’s nearly double the overall 10% drop in robberies across the city. Compare that to Samsung devices which don’t have kill-switches. Thefts of those devices rose 40% in the same period. Samsung introduced kill-switches in April, but they only cover Verizon models.
San Francisco, the hub for the latest gadgets, saw iPhone thefts sink 38% in the six months after Apple introduced the kill-switch compared to the prior six months. London also saw thefts decline by 24%. Samsung on the other hand, saw thefts increase in those cities.
It’s clear Apple’s kill-switch has been an overwhelming success. Microsoft and Google are smart to jump on this feature. It helps consumers and will help big companies avoid what some estimate is $2.5 billion a year in replacement costs and insurance fees.
Don’t use Apple, Microsoft or Google? Not to worry. All smartphones sold after July 2015 in the U.S. should come with an anti-theft tool built-in.