A patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month reveals an Apple solution that would detect the behavior of an individual using a device by comparing their behavior with previous patterns. The invention would examine cues such as motion sensor data, grammar usage and other patterns to adjust iPhone access levels based on location.
Apple says a “location aspect”, e.g., cellular tower data, recognition of a home WiFi network, GPS data and even closeness to other mobile devices, can track location. A second module, called “location context”, would then determine which settings to apply based on the system’s confidence in correctly determining device location. Places you have visited often would trigger lower security settings, while unrecognized locations may launch more stringent security requirements.
The intent here by Apple is obvious: use behavioral patterns to program your device into knowing who you are and where you typically go. For example, using these behavioral settings, your iPhone may prompt you to authenticate your device using Apple’s Touch ID (fingerprint identity sensor) at a public place, like a mall or park. When the device detects that you are at home, your four-digit passcode would suffice.
The authentication requirements apply to applications as well. If you are attempting to access apps in a public, open WiFi network (a coffee shop or airport for instance), you may have to go through various stages of authentication based on the sensitivity of the data stored in an app, such as the Calendar or Address Book.
Although some may beg to differ, Apple says the location-based methods of authentication would streamline the security process for the user and offer a more personalized experience. As production is yet to begin on the iPhone 6, there is some speculation as to whether this new feature will be available.