Windows Phone 8.1 will have its very own anti-theft kill switch

Windows Phone security
No Cortana, that's not me!

Anti-theft features are coming to handsets everywhere and now Microsoft plans on adding some of its own for Windows Phone 8.1 users.

The Windows-maker has posted a blog story detailing its plans to include anti-theft features in a forthcoming update, which will prevent thieves from using stolen devices.

In April, Microsoft signed on to the CTIA's Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment, and now the Redmond company promised a Find My Phone feature for Windows Phone 8.1 will come before the CTIA's scheduled goal of July 2015.

Lock it up

It's a long time before the new feature will show up, but once available, Microsoft claims the tool will allow users to remotely erase personal data on their smartphone.

Addtionally users will be able to lock up the device, rendering it useless except for making calls to 911 and other emergency numbers. Once made inoperable, the device can only be reactivated with the original owner's authorization.

If the user is lucky enough to get their device back, Microsoft also says users can restore their handsets using data stored in the cloud.

Hands off!

Anti-theft isn't just a good idea; its become a proven asset at lowering smartphone thefts.

Since the introduction of iCloud Activation Lock for Apple's iOS 7 devices, the London police have noted a 24% decline in iPhone thefts. In San Francisco, there's been a 38% drop.

Microsoft isn't the only party interested in anti-theft features. Also in April, it was joined by an alliance of device manufacturers including Samsung, Google, HTC, Nokia, Motorola and Huawei who all signed the same afformentioned CTIA commitment.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.