With smartphone theft the No. 1 crime in many metro areas, Apple has defied wireless operators and mobile manufacturers to do the right thing for consumers.

Apple's iOS 7 offers kill switch-like technology that thwarts smartphone thieves

Along with the introduction of iOS 7, Apple rolled out a software update that is essentially a kill switch. You can also track the phone and, in some cases, take a picture of the criminal to show police.

If your device is stolen, the software kill switch will allow you to make the device useless by deactivating it via an Apple website.

Years ago, the Australian government forced wireless providers to install a kill switch registry and cell phone theft collapsed Down Under.

Shame on our 4 Bigs -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon -- for not caring about this crime. And Samsung? Get with the program! Apple is doing this. What about you?

The sad reality is the economics of smartphone theft work in the favor of the incumbent players when people have to buy new phones to replace their stolen ones.

Fortunately, both Google and Microsoft are now following Apple's lead. Both Google for its vast Android audience and Microsoft for its tiny Windows phone audience will ready similar kill switch like capabilities in coming software iterations.

States too are following the right path. So far we have Minnesota and California on board with kill switch laws.

By the way, I currently use a free app called Lookout that is one of those find my phone apps. Others you can check out include:

  • PreyProject.com -- Freemium service for Macs, PCs and smartphones.
  • Find My iPhone -- Free service for many Apple devices.
  • Where's My Droid -- Free service for Android smart phone users.
  • Plan B -- Free service for Android smart phone users. This is the only one that can be remotely installed on your phone after you've lost it.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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