A recent patent filing seems to indicate that Apple’s engineers are working to allow the them to remotely disable iOS devices. This patent, filed in February and recently published...focused on describing ways to easily identify stolen devices and erase the sensitive information stored on them, such as credit card numbers and passwords.
However, the patent seems to reach beyond a simple protection against theft. The paperwork mentions that ‘hacking attempts’ falls under unauthorized use. Apple may also be after jailbroken devices...or your iPads and iPhones.
The new feature, if included in the next release of iOS will help Apple identify iPads & iPhones which have been hacked, unlocked, or jailbroken.
The feature will also be able to indicate if the devices’ SIM cards have been swapped or removed, and will monitor sudden increases in memory usage that could “indicate that a hacking program is being run and that an unauthorized user may be using the electronic device.”
This patent was filed prior to the recent federal ruling allowing users to legitimately jailbreak their devices, it is likely that Apple will not be allowed to go after jailbroken devices running legitimate third party apps. However, and if the feature is implemented, Apple will possibly be allowed to remotely wipe devices containing pirated software and apps obtained illegally.
Via Patently Apple