Apple Patents User-Specific Unlocking Methods for iOS


Apple has taken steps to enable multi-user access in iOS, and the latest patent is one of them: it describes a future version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system that features a unique security method that grants different access levels based on gesture input (via AppleInsider).

The technology is described in US Patent No. 8,528,072 for a “Method, apparatus and system for access mode control of a device”.

Taking the current version of iOS, for instance, you need to type the passcode lock to gain access to all your apps and documents. The future version of iOS described in the patent would replace or improve the existing password protocol with a gesture-based access mode that would allow certain levels of access to the user.


This means that, for example, a first gesture could be used to unlock the device, but would grant access to certain functions only, such as gaming. A second gesture could unlock email and contact information, while a subsequent third gesture would grant access to another level.

In terms of gestures, this means that any number of gestures could be applied to the system, and might include the drawing of shapes, patterns, or even letters.

Although Apple does have a certain level of application control, the above system would enable greater access management, which would be useful when lending the device to a child, for example, considering the growing number of in-app purchase issues.

Apple’s patent was first filed in 2010, and credits Jianxiong Jason Shi as its inventor.


  • Chrome262

    So, you would have to do three gestures to get fully access? Or do you mean that doing the third gesture would be full control?

  • IstvanFekete

    “Therefore, a user can set up one type of access input to provide for access to communication applications, another type of access input to provide for access to work productivity application, and a third type of gesture to provide for access to entertainment applications,” the patent reads.

  • Chrome262

    Ah read through that, but was a bit confused on its flexibility, but now looking at it, with the “use can set up” part I realized it should be all optional. Interesting.

  • hub2

    Was wondering how long it’d be til Apple implemented something like this. Entering basic level access would let owners pass around their phone for others to see photos or video without risking their private email or prank Facebook/Twitter posts.