Apple kicked off its WWDC week with a ton of announcements, most of them related to software and apps, of course. One of the highlights its iOS 15, the next version of Apple’s mobile platform, and the features that it will bring to iPhones and iPads. Another highlight, unsurprisingly, is the work Apple has done to protect its users’ privacy. That said, it has also come under fire exactly for some privacy concerns, which could now escalate due to a new feature of iOS 15 that practically makes the Find My Network all-seeing.
Apple’s privacy commitment came under scrutiny when it launched its AirTags item trackers. The way it practically crowdsourced finding items attached to the trackers left many questioning the privacy and security of Apple’s Find My Network. It continues to address those concerns but another new “feature” in the upcoming iOS 15 release could again raise red flags.
According to 9to5Mac, an iPhone running iOS 15 will always be locatable in the Find My network even if it’s turned off. In case of low power or is turned off, the phone actually goes into a low-power state that makes it act like an AirTag. This way, it can be still be found as long as there’s still even a small amount of battery left.
Even more interesting is that it will still work even when the phone has been erased. This would make it possible to locate a stolen iPhone, a use case that Apple oddly didn’t recommend back in the days.
Although these provide some peace of mind for owners of lost iPhones, the feature is only as secure as Find My Network itself is. It is also turned on by default and users have to dig into the settings to really power down their iPhones when they turn it off.