Report: Apple Watch Invites Theft Due To Lack Of Activation Lock

With the launch of iOS 7, Apple made it harder for thieves to reuse stolen iPhones and iPads by enabling Activation Lock within Find My iPhone. One year later, with the release of iOS 8, Apple enabled Activation Lock by default on iOS devices. Without having access to the original owner’s Apple ID and password, a stolen device is absolutely useless — even if the device is somehow reset.

Since Activation Lock was first introduced, iPhone thefts in New York, San Francisco, and London fell by 25 percent, 40 percent, and 50 percent respectively. With that said, another popular Apple device is gaining attention today for its lack of Activation Lock — that device is none other than the Apple Watch.

According to iDownloadBlog, a thief that has managed to get his or her hands on an Apple Watch can bypass the limited security features that are implanted on the device. Normally, an Apple Watch is “locked down” via the deice passcode. However, holding down the side button on the Apple Watch brings up an option menu to “Erase All Content and Settings.”


Invoking that option erases all data on the Apple Watch and allows it to be paired with any other iPhone. Apple has the opportunity rectify this security situation in the future by extending Activation Lock to the Apple Watch, but for now, it’s open season with WatchOS 1.0.

However, one fact remains — a thief would have to snatch the Apple Watch off your wrist in the first place. An iPhone can easily be lifted from a pants pocket or taken from someone’s hands, but an Apple Watch must be fastened securely to your wrist (a relatively tight fit is required for the heart rate sensor to work properly) making theft a slightly more difficult, but not impossible affair.

We also must add that competing platforms like Google's Android Wear also don’t offer any type of device protection in the event of theft, although we’re likely to see this change as the wearable-oriented operating system matures.