Microsoft planning better anti-theft features for Windows Phone

Microsoft is working on new anti-theft features for Windows Phone to be added in a future update. Much like Apple's activation lock, which was added to iOS 7 late last year, the new update to the Find My Phone would require users to login with a Microsoft account before dong things like reactivating a device. Microsoft signed CTIA's Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment in April and is required to add these features by 2015, so it's a good sign that they're already in the works.

After the update, Find My Phone would include the following new features:

  • Remotely erase personal data from the smartphone
  • Render the smartphone inoperable by unauthorized users, except the ability to call 911
  • Prevent reactivation or setup of the smartphone without the authorized user's permission
  • Reverse the inoperability if they recover their smartphone and restore user data stored in the cloud if the smartphone was erased

Features like this have already proven to work on cutting down phone theft, so they'll be welcome here with open arms as well. The new features will be available as an update for all phones running Windows Phone 8.0 and newer. More details on function and availability will come when an official release date is pinned down.

Source: Microsoft on the Issues; Via: The Verge



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josonjoy1986 says:

The more..... The better....

How about parental controls on windows phone, we need the ability to block apps and a filtered web browser. Budget windows phones run really well but I can't get them for my children because there aren't any parental controls!

ddartman7 says:

Um, that's called "Kid's Corner" and it's been part of Windows Phone since WP7 was launched.

felickz says:

No, kids corner is to give them your phone

Yeah my windows phone doesn't have a keypad. How am I supposed to type! Darn kids

MatchAttax08 says:

If you're kids are under 10, then parental controls may be useful. If they are over 10 parental controls are useless. I'm 13. I have my own Lumia 1020, Surface 2, Xbox One and Xbox 360 with Pegi 18 games

Here's your parental controls, it's called PARENTING. Try it, my parents did and I haven't killed anyone or became some failure.

Taha Kazi says:

LOL .... Hilarious

PBLNS says:

For now... O_O!!!!!!

wpn00b says:

One option is to setup Kid's Corner as the prior commenter wrote. If you password protect the main part of the phone (which setting up Kid's Corner requires you to do) and setup Kid's Corner, then setup their Microsoft account as a subset of yours, it will allow you parental controls. They won't even be able to download an app without your say so.

I didn't even know the feature was there until a 20 something called and I had to call his mom to unlock his device because she accidentally set it up incorrectly.

boxa72 says:

Great idea as I've been thru 2 925's n an 820 due to being lost or stolen

IgorVysoky says:

Mind your things more dude :)

ChrisUCL says:

Like, seriously. In 15 years I have never had a phone lost or stolen.

IgorVysoky says:

Neither did I. In 10 years or so. I haven't even lost my keys. I lost wallet in public transport but it was found and returned to me with full content.

hopmedic says:

Been using cell phones since 1993. Never had one lost or stolen.

hopmedic says:

Wow. I never realized I've been using cellular tech for more than two decades. I'm old.

blackprince says:

I still remember my first Nokia brick from 1998. Come full circle with them.

KMF79 says:

You and I both bro. I started with a Nokia brick, and I'm back now with a Nokia brick (Lumia 920).

terrokkinit says:

Me too :) 6215, now Icon

Silent Night says:

I tend to lose my wallet a lot. Never lose my keys or phone (unless just around the house). My wallet always falls out of my pocket. I need one of those Treasure Tags, oh wait they aren't compatible with Lumia 822...

herbertsnow says:

Once I left my Nokia brick phone on top of my car and drove home. Got smashed into bits.

Jack Larson1 says:

I'm sorry about your car.

KMF79 says:

And a valuable lesson was bestowed upon you that day.

MatchAttax08 says:

I never had lost a phone. Only once it got stolen. Out of my stupidity I left my old phone under a bag in a car. When I come back... broken window and phone stolen. But I'm happy it happened. It happened on 2010, that was a high-end android phone. For a replacement I got the newly released Lumia 800. Now I'm typing this with my Lumia 1020. If not for this stolen phone, I never would have a windows phone

Try to come to Sudan just for two weeks

May be you are rich enough!

oneiros says:

I lost my virginity once, but since then I became much more careful..that'not going to happen again!

sicnus says:

Think that guy stole those jeans...

Kram Sacul says:

Can't you bypass all that by using the Nokia care software?

greenspot says:

Nope unless you're the owner

fbendotti says:

Chances are if you are stealing a phone, you are to stupid to figure out how to use the nokia care software

kinaton says:

Nokia techie couldn't access my phone without pin code.

Darren Walsh says:

My phone robbing days are over lol !!

KelvBlue says:

Nah, it is only over for the stealing pesky thief. You are robbing, you still can get the code out of them, or chop off for the fingerprints... Oh wait...

These solutions should be tied to imei number, because now u can simply reflash stolen phone to make it work again.

rothx says:

Can't agreed more bro. +920

According to the detailed write up of this, reflashing will not be possible without the Microsoft ID. Like Apple have already done with the iPhone.

Where's that written in the article?
And Find My Phone already doesn't work well in India... Your cant even ring the phone

It can become one of the reasons for Indian users not buying wp!

MatchAttax08 says:

The New Nokia Lumia 1090 coming to shops next week. T&C's apply. Cellular connectivity is a timed exclusive for the US

S Vaibhav says:

You can ring, lock and erase but you can't locate you phone using Bing maps if you are in India.

Problem is I can't ring it either. I can use other features like installing apps / games from Windows Phone store (Web), erase data etc...

EDIT: Finally its working! Thanks to swapnil wajpe for the link...! 

I wonder why Indian link didn't work?  ~.^

Sarang68 says:

Ring my phone works for me. I am looking more for find my phone by map. Nor implemented yet.

Its working now, read my comment below :)

SRoshan143 says:

It works for me. Found out my phone with Find my Phone (ring) lost in the couch. :D

spinzeroWL says:

It said that the phone would still be able to make 911 calls after being locked. I'm in the UK - we use 999 here...
So unless they specifically say it'll work for all territories, I'll be working on the assumption that this is a US only feature (for now at least). Let's be honest, Microsoft has a history of bringing the latest and greatest stuff to the US ahead of everyone else - so it wouldn't be a surprise!

Storl says:

You can always place emergency calls.

oneiros says:

You really mean they should have listed all the emergency phone numbers worldwide...? In that context to me 911 simply meant ' emergency calls ' ...

MatchAttax08 says:

With new Windows phones, cellular connectivity will be first in US before coming to windows phone

Aman2901 says:

Ya nice idea..US link instead of the Indian one!!

Strange but the US link actually worked! Thanks a TON to you mate!!!!!

I can finally ring it :)

Taha Kazi says:

That's not true... I have successfully called, locked, and started my phone...

Hope it was done before my L920 got stolen :(

sholokov says:

Find, lock, erase, already existed.

All is fine but there should not be features barriers like location tracing is not availabe in INDIA. So, eventhough there are good features, and not supported in some reagion will of course a point of disappointment.

downup says:

Who has their phone in the back pocket?

crise says:

Lots of teenage girls actually.

nblew says:

Obviously just android users... Lol

Fritzly says:

Wrong! I always carried my phone in the back pocket since the Motorola MicroTac in 1990.
Belt holders and from pockets are quite uncomfortable IMO.
And I have used MS powered smartphones since the Motorola MPX 200, never had an Android device....

eugen serban says:

I do! When I'm in Copenhagen. When I'm in Paris I tend to put it in the front pocket

E Lizzle says:

Like, every girl...

BldyIdt says:

A lot of people in the place I live actually, mostly men though.

Posted via WPCentral App.

blends says:

I carry two phones so one goes in the back pocket and the other goes in my front pocket.

Sarang68 says:

Why don't you get the Lumia 630 dual sim?

MatchAttax08 says:

I will when the wireless charging pants come out

sarim_xyz says:

Isn't Erase Data already there through Windows Phone website under Find My Phone? Also what happens if the data connection/WiFi was turned off, do these features still work?

Debapriyo J says:

Nope, It will not work at all, it need to be connected to internet then only it will work, I think when you lock through your account it will recognize the Microsoft id of the phone only when connected to internet and thus delete the data based on that particular id!
Pretty lame for 3rd world countries! Isn't it?

Whatever you do! Please make it available for INDIA TOO_/\_

dinchy87 says:

And if the thief just uses "nokia software recovery" to flash the device back :P ? Microsoft must find a way to lock this too. It would be easy as just "disable the usb port" on a locked phone. Without an USB port there is no way of flashing an new ROM, and no way without to open the device itself to get it working without an valid password (microsoft id and password). I wonder why this is not since WP7 integrated, Many phones are stolen and could be found this way (if Microsoft allows location services on a locked device for the purpose of finding it).

Except for charging, if the phone is off, you're doomed..

Of course Nokia Recovery and Nokia Suite Care will not be possible without ID owner. Like iPhone does, even if you flash another iOS image you have to put your ID and password.

kinaton says:

They could kill the usb port if lost surely, so you can only charge.

kiddj55 says:

Hopefully they release an app just like iPhone and Android has.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

I hope they bring it to India. Have to change my URL to \en-US\ for the map to show and locate my phone.

Sarang68 says:

Unfortunately Microsoft has not enabled find my phone by map in India yet! So deeply frustrating. Disappointed.

Amrykid says:

swapnil wajpe says:

For Indian users those who are not able to see the map, just change your url


https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/my/find - Use this url 

Instead of


After the Microsoft acquisition, will Nokia software recovery flash still work ?!

Wow!!! Loving the hot news

dan.booth says:

Would be good if it took & sent pictures with FF camera of someone trying unsuccessful unlock attempts like various iOS/Android apps do?

sachinrex says:

First make a pattern lock for wp!

kinaton says:

Or facial recognision using front camera.

sholokov says:

Or something similar to what W8 has, Picture password.

Yes! I've always wanted the picture password to come to WP from w8

India is one among the largest users of Nokia phones but still Microsoft ignores Xbox music services find me map services and many other.. So frustrating!

SomeGuy11 says:

More than one step behind as usual. Even 8.1 didn't get a good nod on most recent Engadget review of Lumia 630 which was also trashed BTW

bobsentell says:

Cheap phone is cheap. An when had Engadget ever given anything from Microsoft a fair review?

We want Picture lock for widows phone devices too..

For Indian users those who are not able to see the map, just change your url


https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/my/find - Use this url 

Instead of


E Lizzle says:

Nice poopie pants on that guy...

mattdistro says:

Why aren't these features available on Windows tablets/laptops?

mindhere says:

What happens after an owner sells the phone but goes back to render phone inoperable?

It's called buyers trust quit buying used phones and you have no prob...

Just set up another MS account, before that.

bobsentell says:

Anyone else concerned about how this can be used for eBay trolling?

You already can! It's called imei

palmujukka says:

I hope that this will also make impossible to switch off the phone when it's locked.

Ronak Mulani says:

My lumia 920 was washed off bcoz it was in my jeans !! So after sometime i had bought a lumia 520 & an iphone 5 !! But now i realized that it was my greatest mistake in life!!! Not enjoying iphone 5 bcoz my Lumia 920 was better !!

elitelibra says:

Signs of the windows phone 8.1 update 1 or would this be update 2

kptsalami says:

But the phone in the picture is a galaxy....

aneeshd16 says:

My 1020 got stolen yesterday...

monthigos says:

I left a phone at a fast food place and used find my phone to track it down. They person who picked it up pretended they didn't have it, but got pretty embarrassed when started ringing non-stop from their pocket. ;)

thinkdan says:

I'm concerned about how will this work for secondary market devices. Like if you buy a phone on eBay through one of the multiple used phones resellers, will you have to contact the original owner of the phone to activate it? Because that would be nearly impossible.

Chris Yahya says:

Simple. Remember microsoft account?

Rasool Shaik says:

I Lost my Nokia Lumia 920. I used find my phone feature to lock and erase my data but sadly was not able to locate it. In India its very difficult to locate phones once lost. I really wish anti theft mechanism should be implemented with IMEI Number of Devices also. Features mentioned above aregreat to avoid others from not using our phone but they dont help in tracking our Lost phone. Thus i remember a security feature in cheap samsung phones which registers your Phone Number with your device IMEI number and when ever there is SIM change it informs you by sending the new Phone number of the new sim inserted to a phone number which is registered once. This feature is really needed as when ever your phone is stolen and someone enters a new sim card to use it you will receive their phone number which you can use to call them or inform to police.

Winnabe says:

The more, the merrier!

kinaton says:

All works well if sim card is not removed, and you have a data connection. They could surely ping by imei number.

MadSci2 says:

I thought the 1520 was an anti-theft device. Too big to conceal and it weighs the Perp down so they can't run away.

nakialj says:

Had my iPhone stolen march of 2011. At&t couldn't help me at the time. IPhone didn't had insurance on it and sure wasn't going to pay for a new one. Ever since then I use android and windows.

WinOMG says:

What about taking pictures of the person who types the password wrong and getting the location and emailing it? Or sending an email and taking pictures whenever phone gets turned off?

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

kinaton says:

Only works if data connection is available. Any savvy thief would remove the sim card

Chris Yahya says:

Automatically connect to wifi maybe?

WinOMG says:

Well you could still use WiFi. And it would take a picture if they turned the phone off and then removed Sim Card. My Android has it.

Chris Yahya says:

Not so better. We need realtime GPS tracking right now.

That will be amazing... Safety first..

neonspark says:

the question is, will the theif steal it if they see it is a windows phone :)

Arpit Mittal says:

This function again I think for USA not for world as 911 emergency number not others like 100 in India.

greg2k says:

If a guy steals my phone I'd like to know the fucker can't even call 911 with it. Heck, I should even be able to initiate a remote battery burst or something like that.

I say this because my wife's 920 was stolen when we were in China last november. With a ton of awesome photos that were never uploaded to SkyDrive because of the shitty WiFi connection at the hotel. I want that guy to suffer

KMF79 says:

I felt that way when I lost my sunglasses in Mexico.

ZackTheNever says:

The best part about having WP is that no one wants to steal one lol

KMF79 says:

How do we know that picture isn't showing someone putting the phone back because the dude walked away and forgot it. Maybe that someone should be thanked.

AccentAE86 says:

Good in some ways, but really easy to get scammed as a buyer of a used phone. Lots of people buying ipods and iPhones online that cannot be activated. All that happens is the thieves pass the problem on to the unsuspecting buyer. Most people are not tech heads like most WP central readers, so they would have no idea to ask or check whether a device cannot be activated. This is rampant in used iPhone sales.

Sin Ogaris says:

I work in a second hand store, dealing with portable electronics is a nightmare nowadays.

jpspiderman says:

Ummmm not door anything but doesn't the phone already have noisy of these features

Sin Ogaris says:

Good, because when I used find my phone to pick my phone it didn't actually lock it and the taxi driver who had it managed to call my sister even after I had explicitly selected to pick the phone.

I always say, a feature like this is for the peace of mind. Even though my phone has never been stolen, I'd like to know that in a way, it's theft proof even if it's not 100%.

Etyrnus says:

Am I the only one that noticed the typo? Dong things?

On topic, this is definitely a good thing, although I've personally never had need of it.

vijax21 says:

This is the only feature I felt is not there when I had my 920 stolen..(I was very sad) Since then I'm on android now. Waiting for 930..

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

KelvBlue says:

"Cortana,self destruct!"

I Lost my Samsung Focus Flash.  In India its very difficult to locate phones once lost. I really wish anti theft mechanism should be implemented with IMEI Number of Devices also. I used find my phone feature to lock and erase my data but sadly was not able to locate it.

Right now, some one can turn off the phone even if its locked. That is a big blunder if you ask me. If some one flicked your phone, they'd be able to switch it off, and you cant quickly call it to find if they are still around. Perhaps there is already a setting to do that, but if its not, it should be made available.





khonjeja says:

As much as I support this idea of securing our window phone I feel Nokia/Microsoft are not serious about their customers security. Why am I saying this.
1) Microsoft forces users to have one password if they want to access Microsoft based services be it Skype, home computer, laptop, tablets, even Microsoft outlook! Now if they say the kill security feature will require one to enter the same password for all its services where is the security here? None at all. Because if your workmate stole your company phone and he knows the password then you are not secure at all. What Microsoft must do is stop following Google style of one account for all their services as this makes it easy for hackers to access somebodies information.
2) Microsoft should STOP forcing us using one password or account for all their services otherwise if I lose my phone or data then I will have the right to sue them for negligence by forcing me to use one account for all their services including one drive, windows 2013 etc.
3) Microsoft apart from wanting one to enter password in this new security issue one should also be asked to enter some other details like date of birth or any security question that should be unique to this and not shared amongst all Microsoft products

Manu6901 says:

Isn't the phone shown in the pic a shitty SAMEsung phone? Why Wpcentral? why?

aXross says:

I think they should also implement to remotely activate WiFi/3G/LTE discreetly through SMS with secret special commands only from Find My Phone service. There are some people deactivating those for prepaid users. Another thing is to prevent it from turning off the phone, this is only effective on unibody designed phones though.

Arda Ozkal says:

Sth like track phone always (even after reset) would be awesome