Apple invents ingenious security system for the iWallet era

“Make no mistake about it. As we move closer to a point in time when the iPhone could double as an iWallet, security will be the killer feature that consumers will demand,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Two weeks ago Apple introduced us to one of their future security systems that will handle auto login using advanced facial recognition technology. That’ll be great for iDevices not handling important documents and/or financial instruments such as debit and/or credit,” Purcher reports. “For that, Apple has invented a heavy duty second tier of security that is quite ingenious. The key rests in splitting a user’s password recovery secret amongst two devices that are never carried together at one time.”

Purcher reports, “And you know it’s a serious security project at Apple when Bud Tribble, Apple’s VP of Software Technology, is the man behind this endeavor.”

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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward Weber” for the heads up.]


  1. You could use two power adapters. One that is tied to the security password, left at home, your office or school locker and the other one for you actual power needs. The idea of physically separating the password amongst two devices of your choosing is simple and what makes this a smart idea.

    Adding a fingerprint scanner is another available security option that’s smart too. Though I think that I’d personally opt for the facial recognition added layer of security when and if this ever surfaces.

    1. I use an Eikon Fingerprint Scanner on my Macs and would love an integrated scanner on my iOS devices. Authentec already makes them available and one is currently in use in that other platform.

      Everyone has a fingerprint and they are unique. Why reinvent the wheel or design the $500 solution to the $5 problem?

      1. Because mythubusters proved that fingerprint scanners suck. And can be foiled easily some with just a photocopy of your print. And lets be honest how many finger prints do you think are on your phone already?

  2. I agree that security is the holy grail of an iWallet. But Tribble’s rumored solution – linking each iPhone with an adorable furry little purring ball of a creature that multiplies extremely rapidly, so bad agents will have a hard time finding the original – sounds a little far fetched.

  3. Evolving the iPhone to the level wherein one would consider it as a virtual wallet sounds very exciting. Enough possibly to stimulate the creative juices of some team of Apple engineers to take the idea and run for another concept breakthrough. Imagine (given appropriate and adequate security innovations) one’s cash resources, credit cards, driver’s licence details, health insurance and health history, auto registration and insurance info, and other “stuff”, (once relegated to a bulging wallet) now all accessible via one solid state pocket device, which recognizes you as the unique individual authorized to gain (or permit) access to what’s in your wallet. If one were to lose this “wallet,” one would simply deactivate it and activate a replacement, with its unique security details linked up and ready to go. No more rush to inform banks, credit cards, DMVs, etc., about the unfortunate loss of these items. No more concern about these items being used fraudulently.
    I might call it the aye-yi-yi-Wallet.

    1. All well and good, but if they don’t get the security tight it will be most convenient for thieves.

      But honestly, how many of us are worried about someone stealing our tribbles? I have sooooo many!

  4. Considering that Apple includes a charger with every iOS device already, syncing the security codes in the future will be an easy set up. The first time you plug it in to charge it, the chip in the power adapter or charger will present you with a few easy to fill in dialog boxes that match up with your password info on your new spify device and you’re protected x 10. How simple can you make it for consumers. I like it.

  5. Not liking it, unless I’m missing something. I have friends that use third-party power adapters for their iPhones because they’ve either lost the original Apple ones, found the originals to be too big and clunky or they’re broken or have frayed power cords. I’m not convinced the power adapter is the best solution. What about families with multiple devices? It would become a task to keep them all straight and with the right device.

  6. Something about this application strikes me as a red herring. While this idea seems to work well to thwart a thief who steals a device without the power adapter, it also seems to make it easier for a thief who steals the original adapter as well, by offering an easy way to retrieve and reset the user password. Personally, I’ve noticed most laptop users carry their power supply nearby (although this is not so for iPhone users).

    Apple may be posting this application as-is, but the actual use of the technology may be utilized quite differently. IE: I’d like all my Mac devices securely “linked” … meaning my login could only be entered via another of my previously authorized Apple devices, be it my iPad, iPhone, laptop, or another Mac. This way no login access would be granted without having multiple devices from my network, even if they know my secret password. Adding an authorized power supply to the mix would only make it far, far more secure.

    1. You state that “it also seems to make it easier for a thief who steals the original adapter as well.” Well, the idea is not to carry the matching adapter with you at all times. That’s why they refer to leaving it in a school locker or at that office. You could likely carry it in your pocket if you’re of need of charging that often.

      Apple is coming up with a series of security options. Choice should be applauded. Remember a few weeks back where Apple was shown to be considering a facial recognition mode to open your systems? I think we’ll need a variety of securing options and this one is not bad, but not for everyone.

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