Imagine your iPhone could tell someone else was using it and lock them out.
Apple filed a patent application on January 17 2013 entitled “Generating notifications based on user behavior,” which was just published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and spotted by AppleInsider. It’s all about enabling your iPhone or another mobile device to recognize you by your typical behaviors.
By combining sensor data on “movement, rotation, ambient temperature, ambient light, magnetic fields, acceleration, and proximity” with location tracking and input interactions, your iPhone might be able to determine whether or not the person currently caressing it is really you.
In the event an unauthorized user does decide to take a sneaky peek at your iPhone, the phone could send an alert to another one of your devices and lock itself, prompting the person holding it to enter a PIN or use Touch ID to verify themselves.
This kind of in-depth behavioral analysis inevitably involves collecting a lot of data about how you move, where you go, what your typical environment is like, and how you tend to interact with the device via gestures. It even takes into account your regular typing mistakes, general grammar, and preferred vocabulary.
All of this data would be stored on an Apple server and compared to your current usage patterns. Privacy concerns may be assuaged by the statement that the server “may request that the user explicitly authorize the pattern analysis or filter out specific types of behavior that are analyzed.”
In other words, you could opt out of having it track your every movement and prevent it from recording specific locations. Apparently, an assessment of your pattern of movements and the relative distances would be enough for it to flag unusual deviations.
One potential side benefit this could deliver is an end to drunken texting, since your iPhone could lock you out because you’re swaying from side to side and incapable of spelling anything correctly.
There’s no sign of this capability in the current iOS 8 beta, so it’s safe to assume this is something for the future.