There are fewer "Apple pickers" in New York City since the tech giant added a "kill switch" to the iPhone, according to a report released Thursday from an anti-smartphone theft group started by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The report from the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative said robberies this year involving Apple devices dropped by one-fifth, while grand larcenies dropped almost one-third, compared with the first five months of last year. Apple introduced an "Activation Lock" in September for iPhones running on its latest operating system, iOS7.
The data, the report said, "appears to validate the effectiveness of the kill switch approach" to smartphone thefts. Last year, more than one-quarter of all thefts and half of all grand larcenies in the city involved a mobile device.
"In New York City, theft of iPhones fell significantly after the release of Apple's Activation Lock," the report said.
Meanwhile, thefts of Samsung devices, which run on Google's Android, have shot up more than 40% so far this year, compared with 2013. Now, Google and Microsoft, maker of the Windows phones for Nokia, will include a kill switch on the next version of their operating systems. Samsung did add a reactivation lock on certain devices in April for those who opt in.
"The commitments of Google and Microsoft are giant steps toward consumer safety and the statistics released today illustrate the stunning effectiveness of kill switches," said Schneiderman, who launched the group last year with the San Francisco district attorney.