Microsoft to improve Windows Phone anti-theft features

Windows Phone 8.1 Start screenAdditional anti-theft features are coming to Windows Phone after Microsoft signed on to the CTIA’s Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment back in April. The company this week announced that it will enahnce its “Find My Phone” service with the following capabilities:

  • Remotely erase personal data from the smartphone
  • Render the smartphone inoperable by unauthorized users, except the ability to call 911
  • Prevent reactivation or setup of the smartphone without the authorized user’s permission
  • Reverse the inoperability if they recover their smartphone and restore user data stored in the cloud if the smartphone was erased

Microsoft confirmed that it expects to deliver the new Windows Phone anti-theft features by the CTIA’s deadline of July 2015. They will be offered to devices running Windows Phone 8 and up with the caveat that “availability is subject to mobile operator and phone manufacturer approval.”

Such anti-theft features have proven successful in cutting down smartphone theft. According to a The New York Times report, police forces in San Francisco and London have seen iPhone robberies drop 38% and 24% respectively in the six months since the introduction of such features in iOS 7. The trend was similar in New York City with thieves increasingly turning to Samsung devices instead.

Google is also expected to also beef up the anti-theft features in Android.

Sources : Microsoft on the Issues blog // The New York Times