Photos show how Apple is tracking and locking demo iPhones that have been stolen from its stores

Photos show how Apple is tracking and locking demo iPhones that have been stolen from its stores
FILE PHOTO: Apple iPhone 11's are pictured inside of the Apple Store on Fifth Ave in the Manhattan borough of New YorkReuters
  • Apple disables and tracks iPhones that are stolen from the demo stations in its stores, as numerous photos posted to social media have recently shown.
  • The images surfaced after reports alleged that Apple Stores in some cities have been looted.
  • The message being shown in the screenshots surfacing on social media apply to demo iPhones rather than the ones Apple sells.

If you've ever considered snatching one of those display iPhones from your local Apple Store, you may want to think again. Apple keeps tabs on demo iPhones that have been stolen from the display tables in its stores.

Photos of reportedly stolen iPhones have been circulating on social media showing screenshots with a message from Apple requesting that the devices be returned to the store.

"Please return to Apple Walnut Street," one screenshot read, likely referring to the Apple Store located on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. "This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted."

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Apple said in a comment to Business Insider that it doesn't "comment on matters of security."

Apple said it was keeping some of its retail stores temporarily closed earlier this week as protests in response to the death of George Floyd have been spanning the country. The move came just as Apple was beginning to reopen many of its stores in the United States after being closed ince mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Photos have shown Apple Stores with their windows and entrances boarded up at locations in cities such as New York, Washington, and Minneapolis.

Demo devices at Apple Stores run on special software that differs from the software being used on iPhones that are for sale. Apple's anti-theft measures also aren't new, the company has long implemented measures to disable and track display items from being stolen.

Apple also offers tools for consumers to report personal devices that are stolen through its Find My app, which lets iPhone owners track their lost smartphones and mark them as lost.