Theft of smartphones may soon be a thing of the past. California in the United States has passed a Bill that requires new smartphones sold in the state to be equipped with a "kill switch", in an attempt to deter smartphone theft.
The new law has no effect beyond state borders. But as it makes little sense to produce phones solely for California, phone makers are likely to implement the feature in smartphones sold across the US.
A kill switch is a software that lets consumers disable a phone remotely, rendering it useless unless the correct password is entered.
Its proponents say if this technology is widely adopted, it would curb phone theft because it would make it harder for thieves to use or sell stolen phones.
Apple and Samsung have already implemented the kill switch. Google and Microsoft have promised to do so in their next software updates.
San Francisco's Police Department said iPhone thefts fell 38 per cent in the six months after Apple added a kill switch.
Singapore has no laws mandating the kill switch. But if you want to protect your data, Digital Life shows you how.
An important addition in iOS 7 is Find My iPhone.
Ensure that your iPhone is running iOS 7 (if not, update your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update).
Go to iCloud, then turn on Find my iPhone. Once that is done, log in to your iCloud account at icloud.com.
You can view the phone's location (and battery status) on a map. You can also activate Lost mode, which immediately locks your phone and lets you set a custom message and number to display on the phone.
If it has just been misplaced at home and you need help locating it, use the Play Sound feature to make the phone play a loud sound.
As a last resort, you can erase the data from your phone, rendering it unusable unless your Apple ID and password are entered into it.
Be aware that once the data is erased, the phone can no longer be tracked and all its functions will be disabled.