A patent application from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reveals a new level of security and interface design that is personalized based on the user’s location.

Apple Patents Location Based Security

Details of Apple’s patent

The patent, titled “Location-sensitive security levels and setting profiles based on detected location,” explains how the system works.  The hardware and software of a mobile device work together with methods to geographic tracking, such as cell phone towers and proximity to a WiFi hot spot, to automatically adjust various user interface and device behavior settings.

What is most unique is that the new geographic personalization methodology adjusts iPhone security access based on its location.  For example, if the iPhone cell tower pins your location at home and this is confirmed by one other method, such as proximity to another Apple device or a WiFi hot spot, the security on the cell phone can be set to not require passwords to open the phone.  This could also mean a user may only need a simple four-digit passcode to unlock a device while at home, but authentication via Apple’s Touch ID when in public areas like a shopping mall, a recent article in Apple Insider noted.

How the location based security work?

Once the device recognizes the location sector, a secondary data processing logic known as the “location context” module determines which settings to apply.  Using a predefined scale to benchmark against, the module defaults to certain settings based on thresholds of confidence which can be adjusted by the user. Once a location is determined the system decides whether to apply or modify a specialized user profile or device behavior.

Recognized locations, such as home, can be set to low-level security, while unrecognized locations may trigger more stringent authentication requirements.  As well, areas recognized as “unsecure” or public, such as mobile WiFi areas not on a trusted list, can also invoke higher strength security.  Further, public areas may also trigger higher authentication requirements for individual applications holding sensitive information like Address Book and Calendar.