Apple Patents Facial Recognition System For Unlocking Phones

As revealed by Patently Apple, Apple has recently filed patents for locking and unlocking phones using facial recognition software. The patents aren’t just about recognizing faces as an alternative to passwords, they also covers the use of movement patterns for locking the device, filtering out unintended movement, and using the camera to distinguish between users (as well as detecting when a child is holding the device).

Apple’s patent would let your phone watch out for itself.

Not only would this be a replacement for Apple’s current password based security system, but it could also be used to keep an opened device secure. The phone’s front could be set to take a facial recognition picture at a preset amount of time ‘idle’ to keep users with unrecognized faces from gaining unauthorized use of the device. Of course it may also be inconvenient if you need to briefly lend your phone out.

Keep in mind that just because a patent is filed doesn’t mean the design will see the light of day. While facial recognition has a lot of science fiction appeal, it might not be the ideal solution for unlocking your phone. For facial recognition to work, the camera needs decent lighting and the user’s face needs to be in the shot.

Apple’s algorithm for determining when to activate facial recognition and lock the device.

What’s may be of special interest is the patent mentions authorized users in plural. To this date, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch have not officially included support for multiple user accounts. There was a (now outdated) Cydia tweak that offered a hacked together solution for multiple user accounts, and Apple did say they were ‘investigating’ multi-user support for iOS. Considering iOS 6’s deep integration with both Facebook and Twitter, the ability to quickly swap accounts is almost critical if you intend to share an iPad.

Would you prefer facial recognition over passwords? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Jack Attack Gruber

    I would man

  • A Friend

    Don’t want that all part of the illuminati shyyt this is how they start bring crap in to make people think its a good idea but all it is is a warm up to bring in the chip in ya hand ‘Mark of the Beast’ be warned. How u know that when this so cal face recognition ain’t been placed on a server we need to keep our privacy Or at least some sort of it.

  • vx

    haha. copy google idea and patent it? that is stealing, not innovation

  • raze

    well its good for the fact that no one can get in your device unless they look exactly like an privacy is always there main concern but there know telling how far your pic goes if you have a face book an they show you privacy policy you think your picture or your privacy safe just stating the face for anyone can copy or save your picture to there computer website anything they like an yea a person still can still your iphones regaurdless of the security feature added to it but what they suggesting is face recognition to safe gaurd your device which is a good idea, but remember it still want keep a person from stilling it especially if there tech incline, Face recognition would be good.

  • raze

    google hasn’t patent no such thing an like you said it was an idea so basically its not stealing so if they had patent it know one could have used it..

  • Noah King

    Just stop apple

  • mike

    lol stealing other companies tech great job apple

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