Beijing destroying phones by remote

Wild story. Friend has an iPhone. One day essentially stops working. Cannot make calls, cannot use 4G, cannot text message. WiFi only thing that still works. Smart guy and goes about trying to fix the phone. Nothing works. Reaches the end of his knowledge but before resetting.

Takes it into the Apple store in Hong Kong. He explains the problem wondering if it is a virus or iPhone problem. Salesperson asks where they live. “Mainland China.” Without thinking, salesperson says “here is your problem, you need a new phone.”

Friend had a VPN on the phone. In China, Beijing has the ability to see you using a VPN and essentially destroy the phone because you have a VPN. The iPhone would never work again with any SIM card. Take it to Europe, Japan, or US. The phone is now inoperable as a phone.

When asked, the Apple salesperson said “yes, this happens all the time and there is nothing you can do.” Because the phone was still under warranty, Apple handed out a new phone but apparently, this is a problem that Apple in Hong Kong is completely aware of.

Apparently, Apple does not know what triggers the shutdown, but they are very well aware of it. Friend does not know if this applies to Android phones as well but it would make sense. First I’ve heard of Beijing destroying phones by remote. Happy Sunday!!

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