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Apple has been quietly removing security tethers that keep display iPhones from being stolen from its stores, which could make it a little easier for thieves to walk out with them in their pocket.
Though apparently, Apple isn’t all that worried about it.
The company’s redesigned flagship store in London is set to reopen this weekend, and when customers walk in, the phones will be without those pesky tethers chaining them to the tables. MacRumors also reported tethers have been removed from two other UK stores and one in Canada.
So, why the change?
Apple told CNET that the tethers get in the way of allowing customers to hold it properly, try out cases, or see how it feels inside their pocket. And it said that any phone taken out of the store would set off alarms, and if all else fails, they can be remotely bricked.
Obviously, a thief has to avoid security cameras and store employees if they are trying to make off with a phone. But beyond this, it seems possible that they could just turn the phone’s Airplane Mode on, which turns off Cellular voice and data, Bluetooth, and WiFi transmissions, effectively making any kind of tracking on Find my iPhone or remote wiping of it impossible.
It’s not clear whether Apple’s display models have some other software running in the background that tracks them, Airplane mode or not. Computers and iPads are still using the security tethers.