Concerns have been raised over the ease with which thieves can reset the Apple Watch, as well as pair it with any iPhone, without the original owner’s permission.
Apple’s first smartwatch has a passcode feature that can lock the wearable device when it is removed from the wrist, which is meant to prevent it from being used without permission.
However, while the passcode lock prevents access to personal data stored on the watch, it does nothing to stop a thief from resetting the Apple Watch back to factory settings and reactivating it.
Apple’s iPhone, since the inception of iOS 8, has been fitted with a security setting that means when an iPhone is returned to factory settings it cannot be reactivated with another Apple user account without the express permission of the original owner.
The feature, called activation lock, was first introduced in 2013 as an option within Apple’s iOS 7, but turned on by default on iOS 8 in 2014. It is intended to help curb the rise in smartphone thefts.
Other manufacturers followed with similar theft prevention systems, which have helped reduce smartphone theft.
However, Apple has not implemented a similar system for the Apple Watch, which is priced upwards of £300 and can cost considerably more than an iPhone. Apple sells a version of the watch with a gold case that starts at £8,000.
The Apple Watch can only be used when paired with an iPhone, and needs an Apple user account and internet access to register with an iPhone before it can even be used to tell the time.
Other watches, of course, do not have theft protection, and neither do other smartwatches beyond lockscreens, but given Apple’s existing system for its iPhone, its omission of an activation-lock-style feature makes the Apple Watch a more tempting target for thieves.
Apple had not replied to requests for comment at the point of publication.
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Thursday 14th May 2015 15.53 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010