Jun 11 2013

Apple’s iOS 7 Makes Small but Smart Security Upgrades

The overhaul of Apple’s mobile operating system is worth cheering about, but so are the OS’s new security features.

As the executive team from Apple took the stage to demo the next flat design of the Jony Ive-helmed iOS 7 makeover, people on Twitter couldn’t help but squeal in delight at what many viewed as a long overdue makeover.

The color palette is light, airy and magical. The new animations deployed throughout the OS are thoughtful and impressive. This is the reimagined iOS that many iPhone fans have been long been dreaming of and judging by some of the reaction online, iOS 7 didn't disappoint in the aesthetics department.

But the new security features that Apple rolled out along with its new OS are also worth highlighting.

Mobile device theft has been on the rise in several major cities across the country. A report from IDG News found that from November to April, 41 percent of all serious crime in San Francisco was attributed to theft of cell phones or tablets.

Lawmakers have been clamoring for device makers to do something about the issue, and Apple has heeded the call with its new Activation Lock feature, which the company unveiled yesterday during its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.

“With Activation Lock, if a thief tries to turn off Find My iPhone or if they even wipe the device entirely, they will not be able to reactivate it because they don't know your iCloud username and password,” said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering. “We think this is going to be a really powerful theft deterrent.”

Additionally, the company announced VPN per app control, which will allow users to tap into a VPN while using specific apps. For example, if you’re using an expense application that sends receipts back to the office, using a VPN for that application only can more easily secure the transfer of that payment information.

On a smaller level, iOS 7 will also allow for phone, message and Facetime blocking. Bullies, pests and telemarketers beware.

The new security features packed into iOS 7 give users greater control over how much of the world they let in and how much they keep out. Keep that in mind as everyone else fawns over sparkling new visuals in the soon-to-be-released update.