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Apple Patent Application Addresses Advanced 'Find My iPhone' Features and Customizability

Patently Apple reports that another newly-published patent application from Apple reveals a hint at what could be the future of the company's "Find My iPhone" functionality. The proposed enhancements offer a device's owner a great deal more control over how it can be used once it is lost or stolen, as well as providing the device with smarter capabilities for detecting unauthorized usage. Among the interesting features:


- Unauthorized usage detection: A passcode-enabled device could be programmed to automatically increase its security level after a certain number of incorrect passcode entries, moving to further secure sensitive information stored on the device or entering a surveillance mode in which it could begin collecting and transmitting audio, video, position, and other information that might help in identifying the person in possession of the device and reuniting it with its owner.


- Selective data scrambling and wiping: The system could offer device owners a high level of customization regarding actions to be taken when a device is identified as lost or stolen. Beyond the basic remote lock and remote wipe features available with "Find My iPhone" today, the system could allow users to selectively wipe or scramble select content such as emails, contacts and passwords. Such a system could help a user avoid the need to completely wipe their device remotely, allowing other device functions to continue and increasing the chances of recovery.

- Limiting device functions: In addition to scrambling or wiping of data, the system could allow users to selectively turn on or off access to certain features and capabilities on a lost or stolen device. For example, the user could turn off phone, texting, or cellular data capabilities, features that could otherwise result in charges being made to the owner's account. Additional security features such as the disabling of VPN capabilities can also help protect corporate networks from intrusion in the event that a device is lost or stolen.

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46 months ago
I call first to point out that "St. John Smythe" is a reference to Roger Moore's James Bond alias in "A View To A Kill."

Resume tech thread.

:)
Rating: 8 Votes
46 months ago
The more features like this the better. I just wish you could report your phone as stolen and have Apple remotely brick the phone even if it had been erased and reset by the criminal, leaving it utterly useless until the rightful owner informs Apple that it has been recovered. If I can't have it no one can!
Rating: 6 Votes
46 months ago
Retina or fingerprint scanning please.

Also, wouldn' t reporting the location of where the iphone actually is bring Al Franken back for more political nonsense?
Rating: 4 Votes
46 months ago
Until you can remotely prevent someone from restoring the device (which so long as DFU mode exists will be impossible), these types of security measures seem sort of useless to me. Any intelligent thief (okay, so many thieves are pretty dumb) will just turn the device off after stealing it, pull the sim card then throw the device in recovery mode when they get home and restore it.
Rating: 4 Votes
46 months ago
good stuff, but all i want is the device to hinder me from sending unnecessary messages when i'm drunk.
Rating: 3 Votes
46 months ago

Al Franken should stop wasting American tax payer's money on nonsense like that. He is just desperate for attention.


Gotta love it. Tech blogs are abuzz 24/7 with warnings about privacy and analysis of how corporations are selling our identities, but if someone steps up to make manufacturers be more responsible about it, its HIM that's suddenly the bad guy.
Amazing.
Rating: 3 Votes
46 months ago
This is all good for protecting your personal information in the case where you lose your device, but what if your AppleID gets hacked/stolen?

Soon with all your documents, music, email, calendars, pictures, contacts, application settings, etc backed up to the cloud, all thieves need to steal personal information is a single iPod Touch and a good phishing scheme. Just enter the stolen AppleID on the iPod Touch, sync to the cloud, and the thief has a copy of your entire phone.

I am an Apple fan and love my iPhone 4 but after being victim to iTunes account theft I'm very skeptical about Apple's focus on account security. They have gotten better since then, requesting you to re-enter the security code of your credit card if you access iTunes from a new device, but I doubt they can use that for syncing to the cloud and I'm anxious to hear more about how they plan to protect your data.
Rating: 2 Votes
46 months ago

I'm not a fan of the "contact me" being the only feature/choice. If that's the ONLY thing a thief/founder can do with the phone, then very likely you will never get it back. Seriously. If someone steals your phone and it's useless, they are just going to smash it or try to sell it to someone who might have hacking tools to nuke the phone back to normal.


I don't think 'Contact Me' is for thieves, but rather good Samaritans who find a lost phone.
Rating: 2 Votes
46 months ago

I don't think 'Contact Me' is for thieves, but rather good Samaritans who find a lost phone.


Indeed. Thieves aren't really interested in returning your property - they are interested in making a buck off the device or the info that is on said device - much harder to do in this scenario if access is restricted or auto-wiped.
Rating: 2 Votes
46 months ago
The Find Iphone should be tied to the UDID.

That way if the thief was to reinstall IOS the Find Iphone would stop it from being activated, Leaving the device a brick to them.

Or it doesn't appear to activate but it reactivates the tracking
Rating: 2 Votes

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