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New anti-theft feature coming to the Apple Watch

​Right now there's nothing stopping your Apple Watch from being swiped, wiped and sold on to someone else at a bargain price. But that's about to change.

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Apple

Right now there's nothing stopping your Apple Watch from being swiped, wiped and sold on to someone else at a bargain price. But the watchOS 2 update coming this fall will make Apple's latest offering a lot less desirable for the bad guys looking to profit from your loss.

The feature is called Activation Lock, and is similar in design to an anti-theft mechanism that's been available for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices since iOS 7.

When Activation Lock is enabled, the device cannot be reset back to factory condition without the owner entering their Apple ID and password. This means that a bad guy - or random prankster - coming across an Apple Watch will not be able to erase the data and reset it back to factory condition.

However, unlike the offering for iOS devices, Activation Lock on the Apple Watch won't allow the owner to track its location to help aid recovery. But nevertheless it's a step in the right direction.

Without Activation Lock, wiping an Apple Watch is both trivially easy and unbelievably fast.

Since its introduction Activation Lock has been very effective in dramatically reducing iPhone and iPad thefts, because most people won't want to buy an iPhone or iPad that's locked and very clearly belongs to someone else.

It took Apple six years to bring Activation Lock to the iPhone, but Apple Watch owners will be getting this protection after only a few months.

So, as long as you can hold onto your Apple Watch until this fall, you've got a good chance of keeping it forever (or at least until it's obsolete).

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