Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will come up with an “activation lock” feature in its new mobile software to address the growing demand from authorities and consumers to reduce the smartphone theft.

Apple Thefts

Apple’s new feature

The new security feature will be available with the iOS 7, which will be launched in the fall. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) told in the annual developer’s conference that the user will require a valid ID and a password to avail the new feature.

The new security feature will prevent the robbers to turn off the device, and reactivate it if someone tries to feed in their iCloud username and password.

A rising concern

The prosecutors have accused the cellphone industry for not giving much attention to the growing theft problem. According to Gascon, almost half of the robberies reported in San Francisco last year were related to mobile theft.

As per a recent study, the lost and stolen cellphones amounted to almost some $30 billion in 2012.

The stolen devices reach as far as Hong Kong with the help of an active global network. In an incident last year, a robber shot 26-year-old Hwangbum Yang of New York City in the process of the taking his smartphone. In another incident, in Chicago last year, 23-year-old Megan Boken was shot dead for the same reasons. The issue has forced the security forces to form special undercover task forces.

Apple’s Feature: Find My iPhone

However, some of the smartphone makers do have some measures in place to track the missing device. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has Find My iPhone that help in tracking the device, and also can remotely lock the device or erase data from it.

On Thursday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon are expected to meet the representatives of many tech firms, including Apple, Google Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobility, Samsung Electronics and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT), to discuss the theft issue.

Schneiderman and Gascon, told in a joint statement “’Apple Picking’ is a huge epidemic in the United States” and the measure introduced by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is a good gesture from the company to address smartphone theft. Over the new activation lock feature, the authorities will reserve their judgment until they are satisfied with the actual functionality.” Both of them said they are looking forward to the conversation with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other manufacturers at the summit on Thursday.