Apple Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Passwords with Photo Identification as Authentication

Monday February 11, 2013 10:40 AM PST by Ben Lovejoy
With Apple's interest in a smart watch gaining renewed attention, there has been a considerable amount of speculation about what the company might try to do with such a device. Some of the speculation has pointed out that a watch could provide a good alternative to traditional passcodes by using watch proximity to grant a user access to systems and apps.

Apple is apparently looking at other alternatives for traditional password security as well, as highlighted in a patent application published late last week and spotted by Patently Apple.

applesecuritypatent
The patent application describes a system that would display one or more photos stored on a device and ask the owner to identify them. The document mentions voice entry as one method of identification, using the example of a photo from the owner's Contacts database.
For example, after displaying an image that depicts a face of the user's sister Jane, the user may speak aloud, "Jane" … Alternatively, step 120 might also include displaying … a set of names. Then, as part of step 130, the user selects one of the displayed names that the user believes identifies the object.
The patent application suggests that the user would be able to choose the number of photos required to access the device, in the same way they already choose between simple and complex passcodes on an iPhone or iPad.

Apple previously filed for a patent on an approach similar to Android's Face Unlock feature, where the phone unlocks when it recognizes the face of the owner through the front-facing camera, though it was discovered soon after it debuted that the system could be easily fooled by using a photo of the owner displayed on another handset. Additional innovations such as a "Liveness Check" requiring that the user blink for Face Unlock to function have, however, been developed to increase security.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 23 months ago

Get in an accident, get disfigured....can't use your phone :(

In that case, you have probably more important problems.
Rating: 9 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago
Keep copying those android features apple you got this!
Rating: 9 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago
I really can't think of any scenario in which this would work.

I wouldn't want my photos displayed without my passcode being entered. That's one of the things it's there to prevent.
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago
Get in an accident, get disfigured....can't use your phone :(
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago
Remember this? "My voice is my password" :D
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago

Here comes Apple, late to the party as usual. But they'll still call it innovative b/c it's Apple.


They will just do it better, per usual.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago

Geez, I'm not good with names...

I don't approve!


Well i doubt this would be the only option.

I have no real issue with Apple providing a variety of schemes we can use, singularly or in a stack of our choice.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago
The Android Face Unlock feature is pathetic. I could use my friends Facebook profile picture to unlock it.

I still can't see Apple's system being fool proof. I mean, what if you know a lot about that particular person, like you're a family member or something. At this time, there isn't any better options than the passcode unlock, or Android's "join the dots" thing. (However, you can look for pattern smudges, tap marks on the screen)
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 23 months ago

Here comes Apple, late to the party as usual. But they'll still call it innovative b/c it's Apple.


Wait a minute you mean Android has that feature of using a smart watch to unlock a smart phone? Prove it.

Or the use of photos and matching information to unlock the phone? Prove it. I haven't heard of this stuff with Android. This IS innovation. Read the whole article instead of the title before commenting. Now go back to your corner and continue connecting dots.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 22 months ago

Is it just me, or has reading-comprehension taken a nosedive recently? Sheesh people, this feature is NOT the same thing as the "face unlocking" in Android! In Android, the phone looks at your face with the camera and unlocks the device. In this system the device shows you pictures of people in your photo-library and asks you to identify them.

This. People barely read a headline and then jump in to comment right away (clearly not even really knowing what the article is about, let alone even looking at any of the comments that have already been made). :rolleyes:
Rating: 2 Votes

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