Now We Know Why Apple is Removing iPhone Security Tethers at Apple Stores

iPhone security tether security cable

Three days ago we reported that Apple was silently removing the security tethers from iPhones at its Apple Stores. At the time, we hinted that there could be some additional security measures in place to prevent an increase in iPhone theft. Now we know exactly what those measures are. You might want to read on!

In reality, Apple already has some of these security measures in place. For example, they have OS images in demo devices that are used to bring the device back to its original state. An “image” in this context is an archive file with an exact copy of all the data on the phone. Basically, when you reboot a demo iPhone, it reverts to the original state.

This feature has been used for other things, like wiping the slate clean after shoppers take photos, set home pages and do a bunch of stuff on a demo piece. Now, it’s being used in a slightly different way.

The OS image will not allow you to make any permanent changes to the device, rendering it useless for personal use. But that’s not all.

The current OS images have the ability to “kill” the phone when it goes out of range of the Apple Store’s WiFi signal. Basically, what happens is that the phone is unusable, and only the Find My Phone function will stay on until the battery dies. If you try to power it off and plug it back in and then re-start it, it will default to its original store state.

In addition, the phones are locked from being activated, similar to what you’d get from a carrier, for example.

We don’t really want to get into workarounds for these security measures because that would be very uncool, so we’ll just end the piece here.

Oh yeah, I just remembered that even if you don’t see conspicuously placed security cameras at the Apple Store, just know that they are definitely there.

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