A tale of the little man against the big faceless giant.
The advert pretentiously asks ‘What will will your verse be?” read below to find out my verse…
Recently you may have noticed that Apple have make some big changes to it’s devices running the new operating system, iOS7. One of the most notable changes, and the reason behind this article, are the security measures and how Find My iPhone works. Before iOS7, Apple had introduced the pretty excellent Find My iPhone service to help the careless, the drunk and the unfortunate to locate their lost or stolen devices. If you had left your phone in the back of a cab you could go onto any internet enabled device, log into http://www.icloud.com, locate your phone on a map and either make it play a sound, put it in ‘lost’ mode or remotely delete its content- that being a last resort if you stood no chance of getting your phone back.
This service was great because, even if you new your phone was gone forever, you could still save yourself from a little bit of casual identity theft. But, and there’s always a ‘but’, this only worked when your phone was turned on, still signed into your Apple ID and connected to the internet. All an opportune thief had to do was erase the iPhone and it would be back to box fresh settings. Not ideal.
So, understandably, Apple have thought long and hard about how to make this safer and in doing so have come up with ‘Activation Lock’. Activation lock now means that if you are using iOS7 your Apple ID and password are required before you can sign out of iCloud, turn off Find My iPhone or erase the iPhone.
Excellent I hear you all shout. Let us rejoice in the knowledge Apple have made our lives safer and our expensive toys worthless to any moped riding bag snatching thieves. This is all wonderful unless you happen to go through what my brother Patrick and I have gone through.
Now I would not wish any of you to go through what me and my brothers have gone through as it involves the death of our Mother last month.
Like many other women of a certain age, my Mum had an incredibly underused iPad. She had no idea what to do with it but, since my Dad died in 2010, she enjoyed playing Bejeweled in front of Corrie on a Thursday night.
Sadly my Mum’s breast cancer came back in September 2013 and very quickly she was confined to a hospice bed, dying on January 19th. Patrick and I were named co-executors of the will and found ourselves responsible for Mum’s estate. A tiny piece of that estate is her iPad, which my brothers and I agreed could go to Patrick.
Now, encouraged by me, Mum had updated to iOS7 and was happily enjoying its raft of new security measures. Unfortunately in her dying days she didn’t think to tell us her Apple ID password. Funnily enough, I think she had bigger things to worry about.
Knowing a tiny bit about Apple and the old operating system, I thought I’d help my brother out by DFU’ing the iPad. This is a neat little trick that fixes most bugs with Apple devices and means the iPad is completely erased and put back to factory settings. I was not counting on iOS7’s super-duper new security settings meaning once we had completed this, and my brother got half way through set up, it would not let him proceed without our recently dead Mum’s Apple ID password.
Fast-forward in time a week and I’ve just been forwarded the email chain between Apple and my brother. In order to clear Mum’s account from the iPad and set Patrick’s up they have asked for written permission from Mum. As we had already explained to Apple, our Mum is dead. They then ask for copies of her death certificate, will and letter from our solicitor. This does not satisfy them. They have now asked for a court order be provided. The court order “should specify: (1) that the decedent was the owner of all accounts associated with the Apple ID (2) that the requestor is the administrator of the decedent’s estate, (3) that in his or her role as administrator, the requestor is the “agent” of the decedent and their authorization constitutes “lawful consent” as those terms are used in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and (4) that orders Apple to assist in the recovery of the decedent’s data from the decedent’s accounts.” Excellent, that’s just what we want to do so as to make a bloody secondhand iPad work.
I have always been a fan of Apple but this incident has changed my opinion of them completely. Their utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness has been astonishing. For a company that sells itself on the idea we are all part of one big Apple family, they have been very cold.
Understandably, my brother has given up and we now have a redundant iPad. If anyone has any suggestions for an unusable iPad please do send them in. I’ve suggested illuminated placemat and shinny paperweight.
So moral of the story, Apple’s new security features are great if your phone is stolen but rubbish if a loved one has died without having the foresight of thinking about their Apple ID. Cheers Apple.