The Apple Watch just isn’t up to par with the iPhone in terms of protection from thieves. Apple products have historically been a favorite target of thieves because of their popularity and high resale value, and now there’s a good chance the Apple Watch will become the favorite Apple product to steal.
Apple Watch lacks security features
Perhaps Apple was hoping to fly under the radar on this one, but let’s face it. The company just can’t get away with anything, as demonstrated by the multiple tear-downs we have seen of the Apple Watch. And now once the word about how easy it is to swipe the smartwatch and still be able to use it is out, we could see a rash of Apple Watch thefts.
According to Jeff Benjamin of iDownloadBlog, there is no Activation Lock feature on the Watch OS 1.0. The feature renders iPhones basically useless if stolen because it keeps thieves from activating the device after it is reset without disabling the Find My iPhone feature. Activation Lock requires the username and password of the device owner, even if the thieves reset it to the factory settings.
Thieves encourage to steal the Apple Watch
The Apple Watch, however, has no such feature. In other words, all thieves have to do is reset the device to its factory settings, and then they’re home free. They can sell the smartwatch and rake in big bucks on the stolen item. The original owner doesn’t have to worry about thieves getting their data, but the fact is that most thieves are probably more interested in the watch itself than the data that’s on it.
Thieves who manage swipe an Apple Watch can pair it with a different iPhone that’s linked to another iCloud account after resetting it to factory settings. Benjamin states that he found it “extremely easy” to reset his own Apple Watch and pair it with a different iPhone with a different iCloud account. He said the watch didn’t ask him to verify the previous Apple ID and that he found nothing in Watch OS 1.0 that would deter thieves from stealing the device.
Will Apple fix the problem?
Apple was able to roll out a solution to this issue for older iPhones a couple of years ago by adding it in the newest version of iOS. However, Benjamin suggests that this isn’t a possible solution for the Apple Watch because it can’t “establish its own dedicated Wi-Fi or cellular connection,” which means the company really can’t add a feature like the Find My iPhone feature.
However, he thinks Apple could at least add a feature in Watch OS that would make the person resetting the Apple Watch verify the Apple ID that was used on the previous device it was paired with. He also thinks Apple could make it so the OS requires “the proper credentials” before someone un-pairs the smartwatch with that device.
For now anyway, the only thing you can do to keep your Apple Watch from being stolen is to keep a close watch on it because thieves will have a field day with the lack of this basic security feature.