Future iPhones could enhance security with combination of Touch ID & fingertip motion

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited December 2014
Apple has shown interest in combining the use of its Touch ID fingerprint sensor with rotating or moving a user's fingertip in specific ways, offering even more advanced security on future iPhones and iPads.




The concept was revealed this week in a new patent application credited to Dale R. Setlak, co-founder of AuthenTec, the company acquired by Apple to power its Touch ID fingerprint sensors. Entitled "Electronic Device Switchable to a User-Interface Unlocked Mode Based Upon a Pattern of Input Motions and Related Methods," the newly published filing describes how the Touch ID sensor could interact with a user interface to allow users to unlock their device.

In one example, a user is shown rotating their finger to move a corresponding digital combination lock displayed on the iPhone screen. In the filing, Apple reveals that its virtual combination lock would be responsible to a pattern of input motions that must be completed by the user to securely unlock the device.

In another example, a traditional "swipe pattern" is displayed on the screen. But instead of interacting with the display, a user drags their finger across the Touch ID home button to securely unlock the device.




The filing only serves to spotlight the fact that the Touch ID home button found on the latest iPhones and iPads can be used for much more than just sensing a user's fingerprint. The technology acquired by Apple allows for the button to sense movement and motion of a user's finger, which could allow unique input methods in the future.

This has already been achieved in a subtle way with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both of which boast a new feature called "Reachability," allowing the user to tap but not press the home button twice to bring the top portion of the screen down so that it can be reached with one hand.

Because the Touch ID button is always "sensing" in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, touching it alone can keep an iPhone display from going into idle mode and locking --?something that doesn't occur with the smaller iPhone 5s, which lacks Reachability.

The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is powered by the "Smart Sensor" technology that Apple acquired from AuthenTec. The Touch ID predecessor could be used to provide touch-based navigation, offering precise cursor control when editing text, optical joystick emulation, a fast scrolling feature, and more.

Touch ID's ability to identify different fingerprints could also be utilized to enable users to quickly initiate different tasks, such as launching specific apps or calling a particular contact, by using different fingers.

Setlak's proposed input motion unlock invention was made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It was first filed with the office in June of 2013.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    It's a Home Button, a Touch ID sensor, and now an itty-bitty trackpad!
  • Reply 2 of 61
    Looks like a patent designed to constrain competitors rather than something Apple would actually offer, which is a perfectly valid and legal use of the patent system (I can hear the accusations calling Apple a patent troll). Apple's Touch ID is already far superior to this unlock method.
  • Reply 3 of 61
    sounds like it would make an excellent virtual joystick and it would not take up screen space
  • Reply 4 of 61
    There is also the possibility that if you activated this that the police could not force you to unlock your phone as it requires more than just placing your finger.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    smiffy31 wrote: »
    There is also the possibility that if you activated this that the police could not force you to unlock your phone as it requires more than just placing your finger.

    I've wanted there to be a command I could give Siri or some action on the Lock Screen that would then require my passcode to unlock the phone so it would be impossible for access with just placing my finger. This additional security would also include keeping any notifications from appearing on the lock screen.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    smiffy31 wrote: »
    There is also the possibility that if you activated this that the police could not force you to unlock your phone as it requires more than just placing your finger.

    That is an excellent point.
  • Reply 7 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    I've wanted there to be a command I could give Siri or some action on the Lock Screen that would then require my passcode to unlock the phone so it would be impossible for access with just placing my finger.



    "Siri, don't tell them ANYTHING!". <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 8 of 61
    solipsismy wrote: »
    I've wanted there to be a command I could give Siri or some action on the Lock Screen that would then require my passcode to unlock the phone so it would be impossible for access with just placing my finger. This additional security would also include keeping any notifications from appearing on the lock screen.

    I'm thinking of only using my middle finger for my phone unlock when I get an iPhone 6 or 6s.
  • Reply 9 of 61
    I'm thinking of only using my middle finger for my phone unlock when I get an iPhone 6 or 6s.

    I think a total lock down could be executed by using a specific finger. For instance, as soon as you use your middle finger on you left-hand the system will require a passcode, disable notifications from appearing on screen, disable the dropdown and pull-up menus, and send a message of your GPS coordinates to specifc pre-set email addresses of your choice.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    solipsismy wrote: »
    I think a total lock down could be executed by using a specific finger. For instance, as soon as you use your middle finger on you left-hand the system will require a passcode, disable notifications from appearing on screen, disable the dropdown and pull-up menus, and send a message of your GPS coordinates to specify pre-set email addresses of your choice.

    That is another fantastic suggestion!
  • Reply 11 of 61

    I love the idea of having a "script" of action based on a specially identified finger.

     

    Speaking of scripts, why not take it a step farther and have some sort of scripting system like in FileMaker. Unless it has that feature already and I sadly missed it. 

     

    A sort of really cool customizable 'macro' capability - not just a screen action recording utility.

  • Reply 12 of 61
    solipsismy wrote: »
    I've wanted there to be a command I could give Siri or some action on the Lock Screen that would then require my passcode to unlock the phone so it would be impossible for access with just placing my finger. This additional security would also include keeping any notifications from appearing on the lock screen.

    Reboot your phone at the first sign of an imperial cruiser. TouchID is disabled until you enter your PIN after a reboot.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,575member

    This might mean the home button need not be a mechanical button anymore, chances of it wearing out and failing fall to virtually zero.

  • Reply 14 of 61
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by smiffy31 View Post



    There is also the possibility that if you activated this that the police could not force you to unlock your phone as it requires more than just placing your finger.



    And what, exactly, would cause the police to force you to unlock your phone? The evil, deranged pigs would randomly pick you out, for no reason?

  • Reply 15 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     



    And what, exactly, would cause the police to force you to unlock your phone? The evil, deranged pigs would randomly pick you out, for no reason?




    Under the PATRIOT Act, no one is safe...

  • Reply 16 of 61
    lkrupp wrote: »

    And what, exactly, would cause the police to force you to unlock your phone? The evil, deranged pigs would randomly pick you out, for no reason?

    That's just it. The reason doesn't matter. All American citizens have a constitutional right guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
  • Reply 17 of 61
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Under the PATRIOT Act, no one is safe...




    Counseling is available to deal with irrational paranoia. It’s a mental illness.

  • Reply 18 of 61
    lkrupp wrote: »

    Counseling is available to deal with irrational paranoia. It’s a mental illness.

    Surely you jest?
  • Reply 19 of 61
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    That's just it. The reason doesn't matter. All American citizens have a constitutional right guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment:



    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."



    The key words here are ‘unreasonable’ and ‘probable cause.’ Why is it the paranoid nut jobs and the tin foil hatters think the 4th amendment protects them from ALL searches and seizures? 

  • Reply 20 of 61
    lkrupp wrote: »

    The key words here are ‘unreasonable’ and ‘probable cause.’ Why is it the paranoid nut jobs and the tin foil hatters think the 4th amendment protects them from ALL searches and seizures? 

    Ignoring that lazy "tin foil hatters" slur, why do you believe the Constitution doesn't apply equally for every American?
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