iOS security feature leads to destruction of iPhones | TechBook

Over the past three years, more than 66,000 iPhones have been destroyed by an electronics recycling center in the State of Colorado. The smartphones could not be reused. Forbes reports, referring to a report by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group. A security feature in the iOS operating system prevents the phones from being recycled.

iPhones actually “perfect reusable”

The Wireless Alliance, which has been recycling phones of all kinds for more than 17 years, and recycles more than six million donated cell phones between 2015 and 2018, said the iPhones in question were actually “perfectly reusable.” But the iPhones have to be disassembled into separate parts instead of going directly into the market for used smartphones.


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The reuse of iPhones is of interest, if you focus on less affluent people who are more likely to buy a used phone because they can not afford a new iPhone. Another aspect is reducing the environmental impact of producing smartphones. “In the Americas, we dispose of more than 416,000 phones a day, about 7,800 a day in Colorado. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 165 pounds of raw material will be needed to produce an 8-ounce cell phone (about 226 grams). Most greenhouse gas emissions are related to the production of a cell phone, not the use of the cell phone, “says the report from Colorado.

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That’s why the security function is to blame

But why is a security feature of iOS to blame for having to destroy so many smartphones? The activation lock of the iPhone, which is part of the “Find my iPhone” function, is the reason. Because when a user of an iPhone activates “Find my iPhone”, the activation lock is automatically activated. This will save the Apple ID on Apple’s activation servers and connect it to the device. The Apple ID password is required to turn off “Find My iPhone” or reset the iPhone to factory default to clear all data. Actually, this is a great feature when users lose their smartphone or it was stolen.


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The iPhone can then put in the “Lost Mode”. This feature locks the screen and displays a custom message that makes it easier to recover. Apple’s statement on security: “While the activation lock works silently to make it difficult to use or sell your missing device, Lost Mode shows ‘Clearly anyone who finds your device that it still belongs to you and can not be reactivated without your password.’

Sounds like a good security feature, but it also has a drawback. “There is currently no system that allows companies like The Wireless Alliance to tag stolen activations of locked cell phones from manufacturers like Apple and Samsung to disable the locks, thus creating new ones Consumers can benefit from the perfectly reusable devices of their predecessors. If the activation lock on a phone is not lifted by the original owner, the lock is permanent, “says Colorado Public Interest Research.

You can do that

In order to avoid the destruction of your own mobile phone after the period of use, it is not necessary to disable the “Find My iPhone” feature. After all, this feature secures your iPhone and your data. However, if you want to recycle your old iPhone, remember to turn off Find My iPhone, which also disables the activation lock. In addition, you should first delete all your data. You can do this by selecting the “Settings” menu item and clicking on “General”. Under the item “Reset” you can delete all contents. You can recycle an iPhone, for example, in an Apple Store.