Your next iPhone could catch thieves in the act

Your next iPhone could catch thieves in the act

Apple has put out a patent for a system that could use an iPhone's sensors to help identify - and hopefully catch - thieves by tracking their fingerprints and photos.

The patented feature would function similar to some third-party lockscreen apps for Android, taking a snap of a potential no-goodnik when they put in an incorrect password.

In addition to prints and pics, the patent also mentions gathering other data during a suspected breach, such as time of day, location, audio, accelerometer speed, video, and even the pressure, AppleInsider reports.


In theory, this could make gathering circumstantial evidence against suspected thieves a heck of a lot easier, as well as just be an effective deterrent from theft in the first place, much like when Apple originally implemented its Touch ID biometric security feature with the iPhone 6.

That said, there are some concerns regarding how the experimental security feature may handle that data. The patent mentions using external databases as a potential solution for storing the data it gathers, in addition to recording keystrokes to determine what suspects - or prior owners - were attempting to do with the phone during the moment of the crime.

In light of recent concerns over government oversight and phone encryption - on top of a recent security hole that was patched for iOS - the feature may wind up toeing a fine line between providing peace of mind and accidentally handing out your 8-year-old nephew's biometric data to the police after he gets caught fiddling around with your shiny new iPhone 8.

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Parker Wilhelm
Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.