How iOS 15's Tracking-While-Off Feature Could Thwart Thieves

In iOS 15, you’ll be able to “Find My” iPhone even when it’s switched off. Did iPhone theft just become pointless?

If you own a recent (iPhone 11 or newer) iPhone, then it will soon be impossible for thieves to block its Find My tracking feature. Right now, the phone works out its own location, and reports back whenever you look it up in Apple’s Find My app. In iOS 15, the iPhone will behave more like the passive AirTag, allowing you to continue tracking it even when powered off. It’s a radical move, and a welcome one. But it won’t deter all thieves.

“Thieves will steal target iPhones even though these phones are capable of pinging their location when off, with or without an internet connection,” network engineer Eric McGee told Lifewire via email. “However, instead of reselling the stolen iPhones, most thieves strip these gadgets for parts, which they sell to repair shops and stores.”

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