Future iPhones may come with a new breed of anti-theft measures

Future iPhones may come with a new breed of anti-theft measures
Future Apple devices with fingerprint scanners and cameras may employ a new method for dealing with potential abductors, and when we say abductors, we actually mean unscrupulous gadget thieves. It's a terrible feeling, this – realizing that your cool high-tech toy has been stolen. An endless stream of questions enters begins tormenting your racing mind: who did it? What can they do with it? Should I change all my passwords? Is there any hope of ever finding the device? The struggle is real.

Okay, that might have been a bit of an exaggeration on our part, but it's totally an uncool position to be in. Trust us. Anyway, there are various things you can do if your smartphone is stolen (or lost, for that matter), and we'd advice to take a good look at all of them, in case you find yourself in such an unenviable position. Links down below.

Apple is now looking at adding another possible course of action to the mix, by securing a patent that could result in future iDevices storing biometric information and other data of unauthorized users. In other words, next iterations of the iPhone and iPad may store fingerprint data and attempt to snap a picture of the user with the front-facing camera, in case their biometric credentials are not recognized.

Apple was granted the patent, initially filed in late April, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) earlier on Thursday. The abstract of the patent goes over some of the data that may be collected by the security system, should it be implemented in the first place, which includes “one or more fingerprints, one or more images of a current user of the computing device, video of the current user, audio of the environment of the computing device, forensic interface use information” and so on.

Said data will likely be initially stored locally on the device itself, and sent to remote servers for further evaluation, when the device is connected to the Internet. The patent documentation states that once delivered to the servers, the biometric data may then pass various procedures for cross-referencing it with an already existing database of information for existing users.

With all that said, don't hold your breath that this year's iPhone will implement this technology, or next year's for that matter. Or maybe even next next year's. One such proactive security system would fall into a legal gray area, as far as current anti-theft measures go, and would call for a considerable amount of deliberation before its implementation is allowed. Furthermore, even if it is eventually allowed, it might have to undergo drastic changes in order to fit within the established regulatory measures.


source: USPTO via AppleInsider

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11 Comments

1. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

While the criminals will learn to work around it I do like the idea of counter-measures against the thieves rather than just bricking your phone.

2. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Self-destruction, I hope. Anything as long as it injures the punk who stole it.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and... if it's your kids that just want to hide your phone?

5. Unordinary unregistered

I have this on my iPhone currently. Very nice. Front cam stealth photo taken with wrong password entry, GPS location sent to email / iMessage, all toggles disabled and powerdown requires passcode. Very nice. Still wont stop someone from going into dfu mode though. But gives me enough time to catch the dude with the police. Regardless, a stolen iPhone is literally completely pointless /useless with activation lock now. Thieves just steal for parts.

7. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 654; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Apple should just include a tiny charge of C4 with - oh perhaps 2mm ball-bearings inside their next iPhone along with an update to Siri that gives her capability to use a "HAL9000 kill mode" to deter and/ or disable thieves in the event the phone is reported stolen. I'll bet iPhone thefts would plummet... >;)

11. guests

Posts: 196; Member since: Jun 19, 2016

I thought apple already patented that feature.. It's called i-explode, activated when someone holding it wrong.

3. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I hope so because atm there the protection has enormous, stupid flaws. First thing I'd do after stealing iPhone is entering DFU mode, it gets untraceable so easily. Turn on airplane mode from lockscreen? No problem, turn on airplane mode when CC is disabled? No problem, use Siri Seriously, I know the thief wouldn't be able to use it but you still won't have your phone and even a way to find it Jailbreak solves all of these problems but on 9.3 it's tethered so just reboot and all ani theft tweaks are gone

6. Unordinary unregistered

Removing the sim also is a downer

9. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Yeah, this My old SE C905 can't be used without owner's SIM card, it's pathetic that phones now allow this

8. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

So they patented something I did on my lg optimus 2x ages ago? I love this patent system......

10. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Lol, so they patented what iCaughtU Pro has been offering on jailbroken iDevices, and what GotYa! was offering on Android devices? Such great artists. Let's see who they hypocritically sue this time...

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