Apple may get rid of the passcode unlock feature on the new Apple iPhone 5S and iOS 7, and replace it with an image based recognition one, if a new patent can be believed.
Apple put in an application so as to protect this idea back in 2011 and was published by the Patent and Trademark office in the US this week.
The tech would show a picture which would be random of a contact in the owners phone and then ask for their name from a list.
This idea was protected by Apple back in 2011 and believes that the current system used could be broken by thieves.
Apple said that:
Users sometimes misplace their handheld devices or inadvertently leave them in public places”, they went on to say that “To dissuade thieves from stealing handheld devices (or people from accessing their friends’ devices), many software manufacturers require a user to provide input that ‘unlocks’ the handheld device. Such input may be a passcode of four or more characters.
However, this approach for authenticating a user can be easily compromised.
For example, a thief sitting on a bus may notice the four characters that an unsuspecting person entered on the person’s smart phone. As another example, a thief may pick up a tablet computer in a public place and discover, based on finger prints on the display of the tablet computer, which characters were recently selected by the owner of the tablet computer.
The new system would not just be based on identifying people; a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge could be used with digits which were used because they are the last digits of the phone number of someone they associate with the bridge. As part of the process the last digits of the number would have to be put in if that image was shown.
It is thought that Apple is looking into other solutions to replace the passcode system. In 2011 they also took over Authentec, which leads us to believe they could be considering fingerprint recognition.
They have also filed patents for facial recognition, Android uses this tech, however devices can be unlocked using a photo of the person.
The idea for recognising a face is not new as in 2010 Facebook used a similar system for members to recover passwords by identifying friend’s photos. iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S are rumored to arrive sometime in the summer.