The iPhone continues to be a big focus of rumors and jumping to conclusions, and it’s happening again with a newly-released patent application filed by Apple. The patent describes a panic button that can be activated quickly with the press of the user’s fingerprint on the Touch ID sensor.
Keeping data secure with iPhone 7
The Telegraph spotted the patent application, which was filed in May 2014 and then approved this week. It describes how Apple’s Touch ID sensor could be used as a panic button. After activating panic mode, the data on the iPhone 7, or whatever handset it’s used on, would become inaccessible. (Sounds a bit like something spies would use, doesn’t it?)
Apple debuted the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5S. At the time, it was used just to unlock the phone and verify the identity of the user for iTunes purchases. Now the sensor is included in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S models and also the newer iPad models.
iPhone 7 would still unlock
After the activation of panic mode, the smartphone would still unlock. The user’s data would remain secure with the activation of panic mode, possibly by disabling some of the smartphone’s functions. For example, the iPhone 7 might not bring up contact information, photos, or emails. The function could also activate the microphone or camera to show whoever is attempting to use the phone and then send the video or audio to law enforcement in some cases. Another possibility is that an alert could be sent over a cell network to emergency personnel.
Apple explained in the patent is because of how valuable smartphones are becoming to thieves because of the treasure trove of personal information they hold. iPhones in particular have been a favorite target for thieves because of their high resale value. Apple has already implemented some security features to protect against iPhones being stolen, like the Find My iPhone feature, which can be used through iCloud. Also Activation Lock makes it difficult for thieves to use or resell the device by disabling it.
Of course just because there’s a patent for the technology does not mean that it will ever make it into an Apple device, be it the iPhone 7 or another device.