Activation Lock in iOS 7: What it does and how it can make your iPhone more secure

Apple's Activation Lock is a new security feature in Apple's iOS 7 that has even prompted the New York Police to go around telling people to upgrade their iPhones, but why? Read on to find out what Activation Lock in iOS 7 for the iPhone is, and how you can enable it on your phone.

What is Activation Lock in iOS 7?

Activation Lock, found within Find My iPhone, is a new feature in iOS 7 that makes it difficult for anyone else to use or sell your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if you ever lose it. Even if you erase your device remotely, Activation Lock can continue to deter anyone from reactivating your device without your permission.

How do I set up Activation Lock?

Easy, all you have to do is upgrade to iOS 7 on your iPhone or iPad and then go into Settings > iCloud and then make sure Find My Phone is turned on. There isn't a toggle button for Activation Lock so don't spend hours looking for it. This feature, which has been available for sometime allows you to then track down your phone if it is lost or stolen.

What can it do?

It's an extra layer of protection on the Find My Phone feature Apple already has. Once turned on, your password will be required before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone on your device, erase your device, or reactivate and use your device. Previously thieves could just turn off the feature, now they need a lot more information.

What if I forget my AppleID and password?

It's going to cause you problems, so we recommend you don't.

If you forget your password, you can reset it at My Apple ID (appleid.apple.com) or by contacting Apple Support and verifying your identity. Once your password has been reset, it will work normally with Find My iPhone and Activation Lock.

READ: Apple iOS 7 review

If you forget your password and cannot reset it, you will lose access to your Apple ID and may be unable to use or reactivate your device.

We recommend writing your password down and storing it somewhere safe without reference to the fact that it is your Apple ID. No not in a note on your phone labelled Apple ID and Password.

What happens when I sell the iPhone in the future?

You love your iPhone, but as we know, Apple launches a new one every year (We know you are already excited for the iPhone 6), when you come to sell or give your Apple iPhone away, simple. Go into Settings > iCloud and turn off the Find My Phone feature.

READ: Apple iPhone 5S review and our Apple iPhone 5C review

It's also advisable to "wipe" the device before giving it to someone else. To do this turn off Find My iPhone, and remove the device from your iCloud account. On your iOS device, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Do I need to do anything if I am buying a secondhand iPad or iPhone?

Yes. Make sure the phone has the Find My Phone feature turned off otherwise you've just bought a very expensive paperweight. 

Can Find My iPhone do anything else?

Yes. Logging in to iCloud.com via a browser will allow you to find your phone if you've lost it by making it play a sound, see exactly where it is on a map too - in your house, at the office, on its way to France - or completely Erase your iPhone from afar if you are worried about the data on it falling into the wrong hands.

Can I use Activation Lock on all my Apple devices?

Activation Lock works only with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch devices running iOS 7. It doesn't work with Apple Macs at the moment, but it still doesn't make them waterproof.