Apple could be about to ditch the passcode unlocking mechanism in favour of a new image recognition tool, according to a patent filing made last week.
The proposed "Image-based Authentication System" would show the image of a random contact on the homescreen and ask users to identify his or her name from a list of possibilities.
If the user identifies the image (or images) correctly, then they will be granted access to the device.
Break from tradition
Traditionally, Apple has employed the 4-digit passcode as a method of unlocking iOS devices, while user-selected passwords grant access to Mac computers.
However, Apple has been actively brainstorming for an alternative, with a range of patent filings in the last couple of years.
Facial recognition (like Android's Face Unlock feature), a two-step slide to unlock system and fingerprint scanning have all been mentioned in recent patents.
Via Patently Apple