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
89 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
89 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
89 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
89 months ago
thankfully the Jailbreak Community has already been taking care of this annoyance :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aidyn's X Avatar
89 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
89 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)

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