Apple Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Passwords with Photo Identification as Authentication

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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.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

Mr. Retrofire Avatar
102 months ago

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

In that case, you have probably more important problems.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradgfromboo Avatar
102 months ago
Keep copying those android features apple you got this!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Phazer Avatar
102 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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DJAKO Avatar
102 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aloharaz Avatar
102 months ago
Remember this? "My voice is my password" :D
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rudy69 Avatar
102 months ago
Get in an accident, get disfigured....can't use your phone :(
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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