Security for Apple products has become legendary in recent years.
The company’s Activation Lock tool, the result of endless lobbying from mobile owners and industry bigwigs, means that iPhones and iPads running iOS 7 cannot be activated with another iTunes account once they’ve been factory reset.
This so–called kill switch, which can only be bypassed if a user gives their permission for the device to be used with a different iTunes account, has made wiping an iPhone and preventing its use by thieves easy.
But now Apple is facing up to a serious security breach with its new Apple Watch.
It’s been discovered that by simply holding down on the watch’s button and pressing the screen, users can reset the device.
While thieves might not know your numeric passcode and therefore cannot access your data, they can still reset the device and then activate with a different iTunes account.
The potential for a black market in stolen Apple Watches is obvious.
Apple Watch security is made all the harder because it does not work as a standalone device.
It needs an iPhone in order to operate. But the fact you can wipe it and tie it to any iPhone you like means users will be extra wary of strapping one on.
Put it this way. Would you buy a £300 smartwatch that could be ripped from your wrist and resold without having the chance to prevent thieves from using a product you shelled out for?
This issue represents a major challenge to Apple.
It has not responded to the claims as yet, but it will need to move fast in order to reassure the growing army of Apple Watch users that its product is safe and cannot be easily used by others.
How it does this remains to be seen. An Activation Lock tool for the watch may be difficult to create, but being able to remote wipe and brick the device is essential.
Some may say the watch doesn’t store much information, but surely preventing a black market in the latest must–have gadget is something Apple has a duty to do.
With the company’s WWDC event coming up in just a few weeks, surely now is the time to face up to this problem and institute a fix.
Apple can’t retreat to its classic tactic of ‘never apologise, never explain’.
With Find My iPhone, it fixed issues around stolen phones. Now it needs to do the same for smartwatches. Its reputation depends on it.