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NYPD handing out fliers encouraging iPhone owners to download iOS 7

You may remember a story at the tail end of last year where New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed the finger at Apple’s iPhone as a reason for a rise in the city’s crime figures.

Bloomberg said that the handset appeared to be the favored smartphone among thieves and wanted owners to be more careful with the device on the streets of the city.

“Put it in a pocket in sort of a more body-fitting, tighter clothes, that you can feel….if somebody put their hand in your pocket, not just an outside coat pocket,” the mayor said at the time.

Well, it appears the New York authorities are far from done with the fight against iPhone crime, as cops in the city have reportedly been distributing fliers outside subway stations and Apple stores urging owners of the handset – and also the iPad – to upgrade to the recently released iOS 7 operating system, which comes with a new security feature called Activation Lock designed to make life a little more difficult for thieves.

The release of iOS 7 coincides with the launch of two new phones from Apple – the 5S and 5C – so presumably the NYPD expects the city’s smartphone-focused criminals will be extra keen to get their hands on the new devices in the coming weeks and months.

AllThingsD got hold of one of the fliers, which begins, “Attention Apple Users!!!!!” – yes, the message was deemed serious enough to warrant five exclamation marks – “As of Wednesday, September 18, 2013 the new iOS 7 feature brings added security to your Apple devices.”

It continued, “By downloading the new operating system, should your device be lost or stolen it cannot be reprogrammed without an Apple ID and password. The download is FREE from Apple.”

The new Activation Lock feature means an Apple ID and password is required before anyone can switch off the device’s Find My iPhone tool, wipe the phone’s data, or reactivate it. Cops sometimes use Find My iPhone to help relocate stolen devices and apprehend suspects.

Apple explains on its website that Activation Lock can “help you keep your device secure, even if it is in the wrong hands, and can improve your chances of recovering it. Even if you erase your device remotely, Activation Lock can continue to deter anyone from reactivating your device without your permission. All you need to do is keep Find My iPhone turned on, and remember your Apple ID and password.”

While Apple executives will surely be delighted to learn that cops in the city are going around effectively promoting the tech company’s latest mobile operating system on its behalf, it’s not clear how the majority of the city’s residents feel about the law enforcement officers’ novel approach to fighting crime.

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