iOS 7 Allows Siri to Disable Find My iPhone via Airplane Mode in Security/Convenience Trade-Off

Wednesday September 18, 2013 2:16 PM PDT by Jordan Golson
In iOS 7, Siri can change a number of settings on the iPhone, including toggling Bluetooth on and off or changing the screen brightness. As one MacRumors reader noticed, Siri can also activate Airplane Mode, even if a passcode lock is set, allowing a thief to effectively disable Find My iPhone on a stolen device.

However, Apple has added some extensive security features to deter phone theft in iOS 7, most notably the Activation Lock feature that prevents a lost or stolen iPhone from being activated without the Apple ID password used to erase the phone.

Activation Lock makes it so that even if a phone is stolen, Find My iPhone disabled, and then erased, the phone is still unable to be activated and used without the proper Apple ID.

San Francisco District Attorney came out in support of Activation Lock, saying that "clear improvements" had been made to deter criminals.

Update: Commenters have noted that users can also turn Airplane Mode on from the Control Center by swiping up from the lock screen. Lock screen Control Center access can be disabled from the Settings/Control Center panel. Find My iPhone can also be effectively disabled by turning the phone off.

Thanks Greg!

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 14 months ago
To be fair, this doesn't actually disable Find my Phone. It just interrupts the connectivity of the device. Which they could also do by powering off the phone, or putting in an area with no service?
Rating: 38 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
I've already stolen 6 phones using this!
Rating: 23 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
This is a total non-story.
Is turning off the phone also a security flaw because that also disables Find My iPhone?
What's the thief going to do?
Keep it in Airplane mode forever and just get his jollies playing with your Angry Birds?
Rating: 22 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago

Sometimes, I think its worse to announce things, such as this, allowing a thief to effectively do this. I'm not saying things don't fall through, but how is it that all of us developers( and even more non-developers) had iOS7 for 3 months now, and it hasn't come up until now?

Because it isn't a flaw with Find My iPhone. It doesn't disable the app or the functionality. Someone is just jumping up and down because a theif can use siri to disable the phones radios, thereby hindering Find my iPhone from tracking the device. ... Which, the theif can just as easily do by turning the device off.
Rating: 13 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
More nothing stories just to increase page views. If this is such a security flaw why is it just coming up now when devs have had iOS for months?
Rating: 10 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
Thief: Siri, enable Airplane Mode.

Siri: Yes, of course. As soon as I identify your valid fingerprint, Sir.

Thief: Damn you, Siri! Damn you!

Siri: (quietly reporting the location of thief to authorities and stolen iPhone registry)
Rating: 9 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
Wow. Security flaw? Really? I'm surprised MR would go there with this.

BREAKING: A thief can disable "Find My iPhone" by removing the SIM card or powering off an iPhone. Case designers planning response with shackled cases blocking access to SIM card tray and home button.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
This isn't a bug or even news worthy. You can also enable airplane mode by swiping up on the lock screen WITHOUT your pass code . It's a feature, not a bug lol...

I find it quite convenient...
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
This headline is totally misleading. It's one thing if you could tell Siri, "Disable Find my iPhone" while it was locked... it's something totally different if you can just enable Airplane Mode.
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 14 months ago
This is retarded and should be deleted before it stirs up incorrect rumors. This is like saying "iPhones have a critical security flaw: THE SIM CARD CAN BE REMOVED BY SOMEONE OTHER THEN THE OWNER!"
Rating: 6 Votes

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