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.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

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120 months ago
St. John Smythe = James Bond

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.

:)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 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!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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120 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.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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120 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?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
good stuff, but all i want is the device to hinder me from sending unnecessary messages when i'm drunk.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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