Apple Explores Auto-Adjusting Security and Other Settings Based on Device Location

Apple has applied for a patent that describes a method of adjusting security and other settings for mobile devices based on the location of the device (via AppleInsider). The location data gathered by the system also includes contextual information that helps to identify the phone's position as a familiar or unfamiliar place.

location-patent-apple
The system described in the patent titled "Location-sensitive security levels and setting profiles based on detected location" uses at least two pieces of data such as a saved Wi-Fi network or an identifiable cellular tower to determine the location of the device. Once identified, the software can change security options to match the environment, enabling Touch ID and disabling the simple passcode entry when a user is away from home, for example.

The security level and/or other device behavior, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified based on the location of the mobile device. The location of the mobile device can be determined by analyzing location aspects present at a location, where any parameters or attributes of a location that can assist in identifying a particular location may be used as location aspects. In a setup process, the mobile device identifies available aspects at a location and can use the available aspects to determine a location context associated with a location. In a use example, the device identifies available aspects at a location and determines whether the available aspects match a previously defined location context. If the available aspects match the previously defined location context, device behavior, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified.

Besides security settings, the system may also adjust the user interface, automatically modifying the home screen apps based on location. For example, the method could display Mail and other productivity apps at work and entertainment apps and games at home.

This location-based security patent application was filed in December 2012 and published July 3, 2014. If implemented, it would provide iOS device owners with another level of protection beyond what Apple' offers with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Touch ID was introduced last year with the iPhone 5s and is expected to expand to the iPad later this year. Apple also opened up an API for Touch ID in iOS 8 that will allow developers to use the fingerprint scanner for user authentication.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

Windlasher Avatar
126 months ago
Is this really worth a patent?

Can't they just spend a week or two implimenting it, and close their ticket? Patenting stuff is evidently a waste of money.

How will Samsung know that its important enough to steal if they don't patent it?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zipa Avatar
126 months ago
I'd love for iBeacons to somehow be integrated into DND. IE, movie theaters can set up iBeacons which have iOS devices pop an alert suggesting they put their iOS devices into DND.
Mmm... iBacon...

Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mildredop Avatar
126 months ago
Thats cool but, what happens if you are mowing the lawn and drop it in the back yard but don't realize it until someone walks by and grabs it. Instant access to all your stuff, right? So if you drop it lets say 100 yards from your house its still unlocked because it thinks you are home.

And you still have to swipe to go to home screen.

Not saying its a bad thing, but I don't mind typing in the numbers to unlock.
That's quite a convoluted scenario. But ok, I see your point.

So with your Touch ID - what happens if you're mowing the lawn, drop your iPhone and then as you reach down, chop off all your fingers? Whilst you're in hospital, amongst the long grass, a man who has inadvertendly found himself in your private garden, finds your phone and one of your fingers and... BAM! He's in your iPhone with access to all your stuff.

Your bank account is empty within minutes, your wife leaves you and you're homeless.

Not saying Touch ID is a bad thing, but I don't mind simply being careful to be aware where my phone is and not drop it and let others get to it. It's be sixteen years so far and I've not lost it yet.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bushido Avatar
126 months ago
thankfully the Jailbreak Community has already been taking care of this annoyance :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aidyn's X Avatar
126 months ago
Surely this can't be granted? I had this on my Nokia N8 back in 2010 or 2011.

The method at which this is achieved may be different.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yvan256 Avatar
126 months ago
It's a good idea but I hope it's an option. I wouldn't want visitors to be able to "bypass" security just because the device happens to be home.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Google maps feaure

Google Maps Finally Rolls Out Glanceable Directions

Wednesday February 28, 2024 2:07 am PST by
After more than a year since announcing the feature, Google Maps is finally rolling out glanceable directions on Android and iOS (via Android Police). The feature allows users to view turn-by-turn directions and a live ETA directly from their device's lock screen – information that was previously only visible when a phone was unlocked. Glanceable directions also work on the app's route...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
M3 MacBook Air Feature

New MacBook Air Models Launching This March: 5 Features to Expect

Wednesday February 28, 2024 1:50 am PST by
The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived in June 2023, which is not that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the current 13-inch ‌MacBook Air back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current crop, having not been updated in 600 days. But rumors suggest that is unlikely to be the case for much longer. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

OLED iPad Pro's Thin Design Highlighted in CAD Drawings

Wednesday February 28, 2024 1:22 pm PST by
Apple is working on a new version of the iPad Pro that is set to launch as soon as March, and the refresh will mark the biggest design update to the Pro lineup since 2018. Apple is transitioning to OLED displays, and the swap will allow for a major change to the overall thickness of the device. CAD drawings of the upcoming ~11-inch and ~13-inch iPad Pro models give us some insight into just...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...