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
95 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
95 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
95 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
95 months ago
thankfully the Jailbreak Community has already been taking care of this annoyance :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aidyn's X Avatar
95 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
95 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)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
tim cook spring loaded event

Gurman: Apple Planning Multiple Events for the Fall, M1X MacBook Pros to be Available by November

Sunday August 15, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to hold multiple events this fall, which will collectively include the launch of new iPhones, Apple Watches, updated AirPods, revamped iPad mini, and the redesigned MacBook Pros, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In his latest weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that much like last year, Apple will hold multiple events this coming fall, with the...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
macos monterey safari beta 3

macOS Monterey Beta 3: Apple Redesigns Safari Tab Interface Following Complaints

Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:39 am PDT by
In the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, which came out this morning, Apple has overhauled the design of Safari, making the tab bar more similar to the current tab bar in macOS Big Sur. The prior Safari design did away with the dedicated URL and search interface, instead allowing any individual tab to be used for navigation input. Tabs were also all arranged at the top of the display...