They’re taking a byte out of crime … some of it, anyway.
To combat a surge in smartphone theft, the NYPD has launched a campaign to advise consumers about the security benefits of updating to Apple's latest -- but neglected to promote a similar feature Google launched on Android one month earlier.
“Attention Apple Users!!!!” reads a flyer cops began handing out Friday, the same day Apple started selling the new iPhone 5S and 5C. “The new iOS7 software update available for your Apple product brings added security to your devices.”
“For additional information on iOS7 features visit www.apple.com,” the flyer helpfully suggests.
Apple’s smartphone competitors including Microsoft, Google and Motorola declined FoxNews.com requests to comment on the program. But a Google source did note Android's similar feature, which is available for all users running version 2.2 and above -- that’s 100 percent of Android-based devices now on sale.
“If your phone can’t be recovered, or has been stolen, you can quickly and securely erase all of the data on your device to keep your data from ending up in the wrong hands,” wrote Adrian Ludwig, an Android security engineer with Google, when he announced the feature in early August.
The Activation Lock feature in Apple’s iOS7 makes it impossible for a thief to deactivate the "Find My iPhone" or "Find my iPad" feature without the owner's Apple ID and password. Similarly, Google’s Android Device Manager can remotely locate a lost device and can lock and erase it.
The feature is easily set up from android.com/device manager. The police did not advertise its launch, however.
NYPD officials said that the Apple feature may help prevent theft.