One of iCloud‘s more welcome features has been Find My iPhone. The free service has been a boon to those of us that tend to forget where we left our devices, allowing users to locate their iOS property via Maps, play a tone to see if it’s close (or to alert those around that the device has been nicked), display a message to the finder of the device , or lock it/remotely wipe the data off the device if it isn’t returned.
As helpful as this can be, it isn’t foolproof. A simple factory reset of the device (even if locked) will wipe it clean, allowing a thief full use of their ill-gotten gain. Courtesy of an article from MacRumors, AT&T has revealed that they will put into play a database for stolen phones that use their service. Per the press release:
“As announced in April, AT&T is creating a stolen phone database to prevent devices reported stolen from accessing wireless networks. We will install this availability next week for AT&T phones on our network and are working toward a cross-carrier solution later this year.”
The MacRumors article cites further that only the customer that originates the block may request its removal, in effect creating a blacklist that would prevent the phone from being used on AT&T’s network.
While an excellent idea, the plan does have some limitations. The iPhone 4S has chips (theoretically) allowing use on multiple carriers, so it is possible that the device could be used on a different service if stolen, or be sold for use overseas.