Apple patent details automatically adjusting security settings based on location, biosensors, and behavior

“A new patent application published today by the United States Patent & Trademark Office details a system Apple could use to automatically configure security and other settings of a device based on its location or the habits of its user,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac.

“The majority of the patent discusses intelligently adjusting settings by detecting a device’s location while using retinal scans, DNA, fingerprints, or other biosensors to present an appropriate level of security to the user,” Kahn reports. “For example, imagine a device’s passcode requirements changing depending on the location of the user. When the device is detected at ‘Home’ the device, for instance, might not require a passcode to unlock. ‘A passcode is not required when the mobile device detects a current location corresponding to the user’s home.’ The feature could fit in nicely with Homekit…”

Read more, and see Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

24 Comments

  1. If your wearable is on your body your phone or computer may not ask for a pass code, either. In fact, your computer could wake from sleep and log you in as you’re still walking up to it and taking a seat.

    1. Also: pair with iWatch, then if it suddenly moves out of range (e.g. thief has snatched the iPhone from you while unlocked and is running away with it), lock iPhone down immediately.

      1. Not really. Plenty of things are patented with prior art , they even reference it in the patents.

        I agree that Apple likely has a unique solution / idea – they generally do!

  2. While I think Apple deserves to be able to profit from its research and development, it seems wrong to patent practical methods of improving security. If the best known security practices are obstructed by patents, doesn’t that just make everything less secure?

    1. @ kayan. The best known security practices are unknown! If I don’t know your passcode, I cannot access your information or your gadget.
      If you don’t have my house key, let alone know where my house is, you cannot enter it for whatever your purpose maybe.
      So not sharing security IP means that would be attackers cannot develop methods in which to attack your gadget or your personal information.
      Sometimes patents do not secure security, if anything, patents can render security moot by providing companies like Google, Samsung et al with a template by which to design a workaround. 🙁

      1. Hate to argue semantics, but “unknown” security practices don’t technically count as “known” security practices. Obscurity is one useful tool for security, but you still need a knowable plan.

        By the way, I wouldn’t need a key if I wanted to break into your house. I’d just use one of these –

        1. Sorry to disappoint you kayan, I wouldn’t visit a website that I have not solicited.
          That having been said, you wouldn’t need a website to brake into my polynesian island palm frond hut with no door or window/s for that matter!

            1. Grass skirts? hannahjs!
              Palm frond (Raffia) skirts, yes! Grass skirts no!
              The thought of even sitting on manicured lawns in the buff or with exposed legs sends itchy signals down my proverbials.
              I wonder if grass skirts were a form of contraception for men?

            2. That last? Not in the least, as long as they were were worn by the distaff side of the clan. I would assume the reverse.

              Perhaps this would not apply to cross-dressing polynesians, but alas I have no data there

            3. Ha! ha!! haaa!!!
              I laugh to cover my pathetic attempt to decipher your double speak!
              How would cross dressing apply in a coterie?
              And yes, a lack of data does indeed place a closed stopcock in the information conduit.

      2. Sorry I disagree.

        Security through obscurity is simply an illusion in most cases, or at best an undiscovered exploit waiting to be found.

        Security that can be peer reviewed, validated and tested against is much more desirable in technology.

    2. The assumption you are making is that the Apple-patented system is the *best* — I suspect that if this proves profitable, other innovators will come up with other ways of significantly improving security, too. But that is the profit motive, and it requires a number of principals not present in your scenario.

  3. I’m glad to see something like this coming – I have wanted it to change volume/mute settings based on location. In the office, mute and vibrate. Walk out the door, full volume for the drive home. Arrive home, medium (predetermined) level until bed time, then back to full volume for my alarm (and any emergency that might call in during the night) until I arrive again at work the next day. More of this could be time sensitive – after 5:00 turn my ringer on at a medium level so I hear the phone when my wife calls to see why I’m still at work. Would take some “teaching”, but would be *very* handy.

  4. Definitely a most excellent feature for visiting dangerous and unstable places like Iraq or the United Hates.

    The Biometric feedback is great too, and there will be a synergy if it can be tied to other devices. Say you have some typical obsessed Amurdican bully nut case that’s been posting rant after rant after rant about Tim Cook needing to leave Apple finally deciding that he’s being ignored long enough. He does what many Amurdercans do if they can’t get shipped off to war or find a torture center nearby, find the softest target possible, usually a school. No doubt, he’d gather the biggest arsenal possible, usually to compensate for something or other.

    I take it that the new security setting will allow a constant flow of feedback, maybe even gauging a thrill factor as this very hypothetical individual start popping off child after child after innocent child from what ever location he’s decided upon.

    These security features will be excellent if they can work in conjunction with essential services such as the media and military or in the case of free world countries hospitals, fire department, and the police. In this very hypothetical situation the media will be able to report live on the biometrics of the situation.

    Jouranalist 1: “Oh gauging from the live feed of biometrics and security features, looks like the shooter identified as Gay Horridsum is about to pop off another student held hostage.”

    Jouranalist 2: “Yes, the terror reading on the children wearing Apple iWear products is going through the roof, I’ve never seen such readings, so high, and climbing. Oh no wait, that’s the ratings for this show, just goes to show you what is as Amurdercan as apple pie.

    Journalist 1: “Live from the newsroom two biometric readings from the gym have stopped, we can only guess that either their iWear has been surgically removed or that they have been shot dead by the shooter.”

    Jouranalist 2: “I’d say the latter because the iShootShootShoot used by the shooter just recorded 53 bullets fired. That’s a new record, that “aim for Bin Ladin hit Saddam Hussein guidance missile system” just keeps getting better and better. Still no word from Tim Cook as to whether or not he will leave as CEO of Apple.

    Yup Apple’s going to add a whole plethora of great security features that are sure to make our lives a lot safer.

  5. First signs that indeed the biological sensors will work as a second even prime layer of security that will react when the relevant body is no longer attached or the readings change health and security directly related. To claim Android already does this sort of thing is like claiming a horse and cart already does what a car can do.

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