iPhone’s ‘panic mode’

New mode will let you lock out personal information

If you carry around sensitive information on
your iPhone, you could soon have one less
reason to panic. Apple has filed a patent to
activate ‘panic mode’ when unlocking your iPhone
using a designated finger. Once your iPhone is
unlocked using the secret panic mode method,
the device would automatically limit access to
personal information, reset the device altogether
or activate preset actions.
Since Touch ID can register several different
fingerprints, the patent suggests that iPhone users
could designate a specific fingerprint to unlock the
iPhone in ‘panic mode’. This would then make your
left thumb your secret ‘panic finger’. According to the
patent, using this finger would alert your iPhone you
are in distress or in an emergency situation, and your
phone would respond accordingly.
Panic mode would give iPhone users a new
range of security settings when forced to unlock
their devices using Touch ID. For example, an
iPhone in panic mode could be set to automatically
take photos of the assailant and send them along
with your GPS coordinates to the authorities
securely over iCloud. Another panic mode scenario
could have your iPhone send out distress signals
to nearby iPhones. The panic finger could also be
used to unlock an iPhone and immediately have it
place an emergency call.
Why this matters: Apple’s patent filing suggests
that panic mode could be a way for users to keep
their private information secure in the case that their
iPhone is being stolen.
With all the different emergency scenarios
presented in the patent, it’s easy to think of other
quick actions that can be implemented to improve
the safety of iPhone users all over the world. For
example, how about activating a panic mode setting
to secretly place an emergency call to 911 that
instantly provides your name and location without
you having to utter a word.
But just because Apple has filed this patent,
however, doesn’t mean that this technology will be
coming to the iPhone 7. It just means that if another
phone-maker implements this technology in the
near future, Apple can take them to court and say
they thought of it first.


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