The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today released a patent application filed by Apple back in January of 2013, describing a method by which an iPhone or iPad can provide specifically detailed GPS path information to another device after given proper authorization (via AppleInsider).

In the vein of Find My Friends, which allows rudimentary static location-based tracking services and slightly more in-depth parental controls, today's patent application would add another level of detail to the service. The patent suggests providing location- and path-based information accumulated by one device in the visual form of a digital route on a second device following the first.

location patent 1
Because the device receiving the information would be constantly updated with the first device's movements, it would allow users to follow someone in real time. The patent even mentions the receiving device could generate "spoken word directions", so if a user is driving a car, they wouldn't have to constantly be staring at the phone's screen.

A device in motion can record data about the path it travels and send the path data to another device. A user of the second device can then use the data to see where the first user traveled and/or travel the same path as did the first user.

For example, while the first user is driving a car, she could be running a maps application on the first device, and share the path she is travelling with the user of the second device while the second user is also driving a car. The second device could then display the path in an instance of the maps application running on the second device, or the second device could display directions the second user could use to follow the first user, or the second device could generate spoken word directions the second user could use to follow the first user, all in real time.

The patent mentions that while the program would be able to run on "a mobile communications network (e.g., 3G, LTE, WiMAX, etc.), a wireless LAN (e.g., 802.11), or another kind of wireless network", sometimes an intermediary, like iCloud, may be used as well. There's even a mode that could ignore the path sharing altogether, allowing the first device to share directions to a specific location with the second device, automatically generating a route that may be quicker than following the first device's path.

Also of note is a "mirroring mode" that shows "exactly the same view" on the second device as the user on the first device is seeing and interacting with, aiming to further assist the second device's understanding of the route.

As AppleInsider notes, the patent credits Eran Sandel, Elad Harush, and Roman Guy as its inventors. As with all other patents, today's "Sharing location information among devices" application is less of a confirmation of upcoming software by Apple and more of an intriguing look at ways the company may be looking to expand its little-used map-based features in the future.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

Smith288 Avatar
117 months ago
Useful, I supposed.

I would like apple to create a sort of Screen Sharing tool like they have in OSX to assist people with their phones. Having an in law hold up their iphone facetime camera to their ipad so I can see what they are seeing to assist them in doing something is not what i'd call convenient.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pdaholic Avatar
117 months ago
This should really help with my stalking activities.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newagemac Avatar
117 months ago
Sounds exactly what the Glympse app does...... Can't believe this is patentable.

Of course it's patentable. Glympse is using a different method. There can be hundreds of different methods to accomplish this and they are all patentable. Do you understand how patents work?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
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...
iPad Air 5

iPadOS 18 Rumored to Drop Support for These iPad Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:55 am PST by
iPadOS 18 will drop support for iPad models equipped with the A10X Fusion chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS and iPadOS updates. This means that iPadOS 18 would not be compatible with the first-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro or the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released in 2017. It...
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 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
M3 MacBook Air Feature

New MacBook Air Models Launching Next Month: 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...
iOS 17

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

Tuesday February 27, 2024 8:18 am PST by
Apple will next 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 ➝...