Apple Stores Could Stop Thieves With New Security Measures

Apple is exploring new security measures for Apple retail stores in an attempt to discourage and prevent smash-and-grab robberies.

apple store security patent
In a patent titled "Product-Display System" filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, spotted by Patently Apple, Apple details a number of mechanical systems for securing iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

The proposal effectively involves fixing a "retainer body" and "display stem" to the large tables in Apple Stores that feature a "retainer bracket" to hold devices. Some devices may feature a retractable "retaining cable" attached to the bracket to provide power and allow customers to pick up devices. Magnets placed on the top of the display stem ensure that the device returns to a predetermined position.

apple store security patent 2
To maintain security and be more aesthetically pleasing, "no fasteners of the retainer may be visible or accessible" in the mounting system. The stems and brackets are considerably more heavy-duty than the tethers currently used to secure devices in Apple Stores, and are intended to make it much harder for thieves to detach devices, thereby discouraging robbery attempts.

Apple has experimented with removing security tethers in some of its stores, but the company has been subject to a large number of smash and grab robberies in recent years. The patent is not a confirmation that Apple will implement the bulky security retainers in its retail stores, but it remains a possibility given the solution is fully developed. Apple devices already automatically enter a lost mode when they are stolen from a store, rendering the device useless, but the filing indicates that more basic robbery prevention is still an ongoing area of research for the company.


Update: Apple store aficionado Michael Steeber has noted on Twitter that the mounting system outlined in this patent is already used by a number of Apple retail partners and authorized resellers:

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Top Rated Comments

canyonblue737 Avatar
31 months ago
i was in a large apple store in a fancy town in the suburbs of chicago about a year ago with my entire family looking at the various colors of iphone 12 at the display table. while holding a display phone and showing my teens every OTHER iphone at our same table was simultaneously cut from its tether by a group of young people who then bolted from the store. i was so involved i didn't see it happen until my kids pointed them out already running from the store (we were the table closest to the door.) the manager slowly came over, shrugged, then told us this "happens all the time" and he just slowly walked to the back of the store I assume to call the police. crazy.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonnysods Avatar
31 months ago
Just do what they did in Robocop 2. Won't even run down your battery!

Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LogicalApex Avatar
31 months ago

Aren't those devises locked into "Store Mode" so its pretty much useless to steal.
Probably depends on how they are offloaded. Useless as a usable device, but probably valuable in the part salvage space since it is a source of genuine apple parts.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cww5336 Avatar
31 months ago
Aren't those devises locked into "Store Mode" so its pretty much useless to steal.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jayducharme Avatar
31 months ago
Can't they use AirTags? ;)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ZMacintosh Avatar
31 months ago
more criminal enforcement on people who do this, not making it worse for people coming in without the intent to damage or steal. or create more dummy phones and build in the security mechanisms into the hardware and software. if I wanted to test an Apple product locked with some physical piece, thats what every other electronic retailer is for.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)