Apple Patents Location-Based Security System for iPhone

A new Apple patent published today shows how different locations can intuitively change the mobile device’s user interface, security level and other settings (via AppleInsider). As the patent application entitled ’Location-sensitive security levels and setting profiles based on detected location’ documents, Apple is working on a mechanism that can automatically adjust the iPhone’s access level based on the users location data.

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In the scenarios outlined in the patent, different locations trigger different security levels: while a simple, four-digit passcode may be enough at home, the device may require Touch ID authentication when in public areas.

To make the system work effectively, users need to create at least two location-based security profiles, which also means a predefined security scale. Every other area will be measured against the predefined scale.

For example, a user may be required to authenticate via Touch ID when outside of a trusted environment, while a passcode or password will do while at home. Once unlocked, the device may lower security requirements for a preset period of time. If the iPhone leaves the area, or the countdown timer reaches zero, the system resets to an appropriate protection level.

Customized profiles have a function that allows the user to change the UI behaviour and access to device functions, for example, displaying productivity apps at work and entertainment apps at home.

The patent was originally filed in 2012 and credits Alexander Reitter, David Amm, Julian Missig and Raymond Walsh as its inventors.