Apple patent hints at by-passing iOS passcode when you're in a 'safe' place

Apple patent hints at by-passing iOS passcode when you're in a 'safe' place
Apple's safe place patent mirrors Android L's personal unlocking

A recently filed Apple patent suggests the firm is preparing a new iOS tool that would allow users to by-pass the security locks when they're in an assigned location.

The smart lock would allow users to access their phones without using Touch ID and pass code settings when they're in familiar environments, such as home, work or in the car.

The Wi-Fi or GPS-based tech would adjust the security settings depending on where the user is.

According to the patent filing, different levels of security would be required in different environments. For a regularly visited place like the supermarket, a passcode or fingerprint verification would be required. In an unfamiliar location or a crowded place, heightened security settings could be enacted.

Just like Android L

"Because some locations may be inherently more secure, such as a user's home or office, these locations may be considered 'safe' and require less stringent security," Apple explained in its patent application.

"It can be desirable to have decreased security requirements when the mobile device is at a secure location. Conversely, some locations may be considered higher risk or 'unsecure.' In these locations, it can be desirable to implement stronger security protections."

The feature, should it make its way into iOS in forthcoming iterations, would rival Google's recently-unveiled 'Personal Unlocking' feature for Android L.

That will also allow users to skip pattern unlock or passcodes when in trusted environments or when the device detects an Android Wear smartwatch.


Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.