While my favorite news stories involving smartphone thefts are the ones where the thieves are actually caught in action when they take pictures that are automatically uploaded to the cloud, things on minimizing these are moving fast.

Authorities are taking measures to ensure that the shiny smartphones become less attractive to thieves.

And Microsoft have announced today that they plan to implement new antitheft features into Windows Phone and enhance the ones currently in place, as part of the CTIA Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment that went into action this April.

The group’s target date for these new capabilities is of July 2015, and even though this is what Microsoft recently promised, we now have details on what the company plans for this.

First up, the “Find My Phone” feature in Windows Phone will be enriched with the ability to remotely erase all personal data from the handsets, as well as making the device completely inoperable.

Except for calls to emergency services, that is — because obviously, thieves are people too.

Well, most of them, anyway!

Additionally, users will be able to manually restore functions to the phone, when they so desire. For example, if the smartphone is subsequently found after it was deactivated. Cloud backups will be able to restore data to the handsets.

These features will be enabled on all Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 handsets in a new update that is expected to go live in the near future.

Google also plans to implement similar kill switches in Android sets, alongside Microsoft.

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  • Cody Z

    Beautiful new advancements in security. I am grateful that Microsoft is making this happen on the Windows Phone.

  • Wayne S

    Is this different from Apple/Android’s security system? If it is, then this is HUGE news. But if it’s relatively the same as the other OS’ security, then it’s a good but predictable news.

  • 1stkorean

    I would think by the time the handset was found the user would have already replaced their phone. I know I would have.