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George Floyd protests: Apple 'tracking' iPhones looted from its stores

Adam Smith
General view of the Apple IPhone XR during the Covent Garden re-opening and iPhone XR launch at Apple store, Covent Garden on October 26, 2018 in London, England: Getty

Looters targeting Apple Stores in the United States have found that their stolen iPhones may not function at all outside the store.

People have posted images of the smartphones on twitter that have apparently been taken from US stores. A message on the phone’s screen reads: “This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted.”

One photo has the iPhone message read “Please return to Apple Walnut Street,” a store that is “closed indefinitely” according to its listing on Google Maps.

Apple closed a multitude of its stores outside of China due to the coronavirus pandemic but is opening selected stores in the United States. Some of those stores have closed once more as cities are hit by protests and police violence.

The photo has been confirmed as genuine.

Protests, and rioting, have taken place across the United States following the death of George Floyd.

Following the protests, Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted: “Minneapolis is grieving for a reason. To paraphrase Dr. King, the negative peace which is the absence of tension is no substitute for the positive peace which is the presence of justice. Justice is how we heal.”

Cook sent a memo to employees addressing the situation. Cook condemned the killing and called for a “better, more just world for everyone.”

“We can have no society worth celebrating unless we can guarantee freedom from fear for every person who gives this country their love, labor and life,” Cook also said.

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