Apple looks to patent face and presence detection for mobile device security

“On December 29, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for device security,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“In 2009, Apple’s presence detection patent first came to light in relation to future MacBooks. Then in November of this year, Apple revealed a heavy duty 3D face and object recognition system that could be used for home and enterprise security applications,” Purcher reports. “In today’s revelations, Apple introduces us to a more down-to-earth and practical security system for our portable devices.”

Purcher reports, “For simple home or personal use, the system could be setup to recognize your presence and face to quickly turn on your device. This would bypass the need for entering a password or even having to touch the home button to get to your homepage. For use at work, the facial recognition system could be set to higher levels of security. All in all it sounds like a very promising security system is in our future.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Authentec (they bought UPEK/EIKON) and others offer fingerprint scanners that can be placed on mobile devices. Currently there is at least one Android model (Moto Atrix) that is incorporating the technology. Don’t want a Fandroid phone, but as a user of an Eikon Fingerprint scanner would love to see it on the iPhone.

    Here is a link to Authentec’s mobile device sensors.

    1. Fingerprint scanners are probably great, but Apple always seems to highlight “thin and light”. Any extra space is usually used for added battery capacity to add “and lasts really long” to the greatness of the device. A scanner adds a component, meaning something that requires space and power. The face recognition would use a component already on the device (camera) and software that Apple already has a very good foothold in (face recognition is integral part of not only iPhoto, but iMovie – even the iOS version). This makes more sense.

      Also, it would be something that could be added to the “older” (as in, at the time this could be introduced) devices that have a front-facing camera (4, 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch), since it is software based. This would keep the Apple universe cohesive.

  2. I love the idea. The faster I’m on my devices the better. The fact that it’s to combine ease of use with security is what’s appealing here. It seems to meet both of those criteria. 2 thumbs up.

  3. Neat idea, with the front facing camera just waking up the phone or Touch or whatever should be enough for the devise to identify the person in front. Anyone not recognised then attempting to use the devise should trigger an alert. Much better having auto face recog than having to keep tapping in digits.

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