Apple wants to patent a software solution that changes security settings based on your location

Apple wants to patent a software solution that changes security settings based on your location
One of Apple's latest patent applications that just hit the USPTO describes an interesting security solution, which is contextually-aware automatically alters the security settings of a given mobile device. It's comes with a location-based functionality, which modifies certain security levels of your phone in accordance with your current whereabouts and their overall security. The solution does not only make use of your GPS module, but also uses location information from nearby Wi-Fi and carrier networks.

For example, if your phone detects that you have just finished your morning commute and are about to start work, it can configure your iPhone to require you to unlock it with the aid of Touch ID. On the other hand, if Apple's service finds out that you are about to enter your house, which is usually secure enough, it might only ask you to key in your 4-digit unlock code. The patent application reveals that users can determine which location is safe and which is not, thus determining what kind of security should be employed at said location.

Apart from modifying the security levels, Apple's solution can also change various configuration settings and profiles of your mobile device, providing you with different location-based workspaces. For example, if it detects that you are in your car, it might lower the security requirements, thus allowing you to access your music, navigation, or Apple's CarPlay dashboard system easier.

What do you make of this Apple patent application? Do you think that it might turn out to be incredibly useful or it is just another gimmick? Share your thoughts below!

source: USPTO via AppleInsider



1. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Quite useful, been using a similar approach for a couple of months now using Tasker/NFC on my Android device.

17. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Yes, I just configured Llama to do the same for me when I am at home... After I leave, it enforces the screen lock

20. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

It's not just location with me. NFC tag in my car (on the phoneholder) turns on BT and turns off pinlock. All known wifi's turn off pinlock and when I leave the WiFi, there is a 10 min delay (so it won't turn on pinlock when I go for a smoke outside my work)

23. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I don't really like NFC tags so much... so my Llama have been programmed to do most things by Location, connections and time... (with small cooperation of SmartConnect app) I keep BT turned on at my house... then when I leave, it automatically connects to my car stereo and start playing music... when I get to work, it waits until the car stereo is out of reach (or car is turned off) and then it disables BT and enables WiFi to connect to the one at the office... If I plug a USB flash drive to my USB OTG cable, the phone instantly goes to ES File Explorer at the USB drive's location. If I plug it to a TV, it silence the phone's notifications and turn the brightness down. I have many more automation, including silencing the phone when any Calendar event has "Meeting, movie or seminar" in the title (and keeps it silent for the duration of the event) But this is my first time playing around with the Screen Lock, since my country is extremely dangerous and the risk of getting robbed is very high, thus I have always keep the lock on under any circunstances

25. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

So, given that, is this patentable? It just moves the load into the OS

26. vincelongman

Posts: 5691; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

It shouldn't be IMO Tasker/Llama have had this for years Same with CleverPin for jailbroken iOS devices Also Google already announce something similar in Android L

2. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Not a bad concept actually.

3. gehrig

Posts: 423; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

It's not huge, but it's a good additional feature that I's like to see in iOS 8. Why not add a small feature to enhance the user experience? However, Apple would definitely have to put a toggle for this feature in the privacy setting.

4. codlike

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 03, 2014

It's very handy, but as RebelwithoutaClue said, its been available on Android for years, so how can they patent it

6. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

And its been on Cydia also with numerous powerful tweaks for years. In related terms, many smart and innovative jailbreak developers have been getting poached and hired by Google and Apple.

7. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

He's not saying Android were the first, so Apple can't use it. He's saying this principle been out there for a long time already, so how can Apple patent this with so much prior art. But you are correct that many features/ideas come from the root/jailbreak developers on Cydia and XDA, gotta give love to all the devs out there.

11. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

I know, I understood lol :P

12. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

lol :P

14. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014


18. StanleyG88

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

Because iFruit OWNS the patent office.

8. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

Even the jail broken idevices had those features for years....they can't patent the feature...they can only patent the method in which the feature is implemented..they are not trying to patent the feature itself.

10. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I know this patent is more detailed than a generic way of changing settings. But if you take a look at picture 2, defining where home could be, this could be a setting already defined by someone else using a Cydia feature or someone using Tasker like me. When I create a location context for Home, will I violate their patent if I put in Estimated distance from acces point under 70 iso 50?

13. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

I don't think so.....even if it works in the same way, different technologies can be used to implement the same feature.

24. middlehead

Posts: 456; Member since: May 12, 2014

Because the USPTO switched to a first to file format, instead of first to invent.

5. Antimio

Posts: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 2013

Similar to Googs approach with the wearable, when close it skips the security. Nice to see these ideas. Really like them.

9. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

Can anyone tell me how can a phone detect if it is "connected to a wireless access piont"? Given how registering Apple patents is such an important part of their business model, doesn't anyone proof read these documents??? :P

15. Castro90

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Good idea, like what Google proposed for their wearables and others, but this should not be allowed to be patented.

16. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Remember a time when Apple would show some working prototypes of cool concepts before patenting it? Yeah, neither do I...

22. LAFN

Posts: 61; Member since: Jul 19, 2009

My Garmin GPS has auto-unlocked when I am at home for years now.

27. chrislar21

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 23, 2013

What is wrong with apple, don't they know that their actions affect this and subsequent generations. The world is the way it is because powerful put their selfish interest without any thought to repercussion. The world got to where it is because people shared knowledge. If Samsung copied your design, so what, it means you have something they don't, and instead of up your game, you're pulling others back. This patenting will become the next big problem that will hinder the growth of technology, all because apple wants to become the most profitable organisation ever. I wish I could do something about this, I really do.

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