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Apple Patents Android-Inspired Pattern Unlock Gestures

by Jacob Kleinman | April 17, 2014

Two new Apple patents filed in 2012 and approved on Thursday detail the company’s interest in developing an Android-style lockscreen in place of the PIN code security still offered on iOS. Both patents cover what Apple calls “Gesture entry techniques,” with one focused on specific types of gestures while a second describes how the feature would fit into the entire iOS system.

Apple’s take on gesture-based security codes clearly takes its inspiration from Google, which introduced pattern unlock on Android back in 2008. Cupertino’s version of the security features adds some notable differences though, which might be enough to protect Apple from any potential lawsuit. Users would be able to rearrange and resize the pattern unlock dots, and even add invisible dots to make the device more secure. The patent notes Apple would also factor in timing, registering acceleration and pauses as part of the pass code.

The patent argues that gestures could be more effective than a PIN code in securing mobile devices, but despite clear interest in the idea Apple seems unlikely to pursue it. Instead, the company’s moved in a new direction with the fingerprint sensor featured in the iPhone 5s. We’re expecting to see Touch ID included in even more devices this year, but if you’re desperate to use pattern unlock on your iPhone the only option may be jailbreaking the device.


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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...