Apple Gadget Protection (Images courtesy Wired & OhGizmo!)By Andrew Liszewski

Given the cost of the iPhone and the iPod it’s not surprising that Apple has been working on ways to prevent or discourage people from stealing these devices. They’ve recently filed a patent that outlines a kind of “digital charge management” that will allow devices to know when they’re being synced or connected to an unauthorized recharging mechanism. When this happens the device will simply refuse to recharge.

Today’s gadgets already include special circuits that recognize when a charging or sync cable has been connected so it’s not that difficult to take things one step further and only allow the device to draw power or transfer data if everything ‘checks out.’ By refusing to recharge when the device thinks there’s a problem it basically becomes a useless brick once the battery runs out. Of course there’s nothing stopping a thief from grabbing your recharging cables as well but since most people don’t carry those with them on a daily basis this could work as an effective theft deterrent.

If you’re interested in the specifics on how this will work you can check out Apple’s patent application on the US Patent & Trademark Office website.

[ Charger disarmer VIA New Scientist Invention Blog ]


  1. The REAL reason for this?

    To force consumers into buying only chargers certified to work with their devices (read: from makers who’ve paid Apple licensing fees).

    Anti-theft, puh-lease.

  2. My phone (Motorola Razr) seems to do something like this. It charges via USB, but I have to install special drivers to charge from my PC. It might just be Windows refusing to send power to it, but the screen on my phone pops up an “unauthorized charger” message.