The iPhone has a fingerprint scanner now. Great. It will make your iPhone more convenient (or a pain in the ass) to unlock. But unlocking is sort of beside the point when it comes theft. The truth is, Apple didn’t give the iPhone 5S the one feature that could actually help get a stolen phone back—one that goes perfectly with a fingerprint scanner.
What is it? Requiring a fingerprint scan—or even a passcode scan—to turn the iPhone off. Why? It’s the one thing that will actually help get your iPhone back.
It’s so, so simple. Every cop or theft victim or, frankly, person with a functioning human brain, knows that the first thing any iPhone thief does now is turn the phone off, so that you can’t track down the phone with Find My iPhone. Because if they don’t, the cops show up. By making turn off a secure function, your phone would be trackable for as long as the battery holds out.
It’s crazy that a feature like this hasn’t been put into place already, right? Even just with the passcode? So much effort has gone into features like Find My iPhone and Windows Phone’s Find My Phone and Android Device Manager, and yet you skirt around them just by turning off the damn phone. It would be like a car company making a car alarm that calls the police and sends images of the face in the driver’s seat to the owner of the car, but which can be disabled by pressing a button on the dashboard.
Yes, you potentially leave your information exposed if your phone is on. But not if you have a lockscreen enabled. And even if you don’t, thieves aren’t after your old emails. They just want the hardware.
And there’s no downside here! There has never been a time when you have had to power your phone all the way off (which you probably do verrrrrry rarely anyway) and just COULD NOT TAKE THE TIME to punch in a code or scan your finger. It’s a nominal additional step to an infrequent use. And the payoff is you have a much better chance of getting your phone back if it goes missing.
Will there still be ways to disable the phone and wipe it even with a secure-off feature? Of course. There always will be. But selling fingerprint scanning as an anti-theft measure is laughable if you’re not going to put in the very simplest theft deterrent, which it should be said could be done without a gimmicky new scanner.