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Friday, April 18, 2014

Apple Patents Android-Like Gesture Unlocking Tech For Mobile Devices

Apple has a pair of new patent applications published by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider)
which describe a gesture-based unlocking system for iPhone or iPad
devices. The system is more sophisticated than existing implementations,
however, and includes a number of provisions to make the encryption
even harder to frustrate the current methods employed by Android

Apple’s patent describes gesture lock screen user interface elements
that can be changed by a user, in terms of both size and position.
Changing size makes them easier or harder to hit, and rearranging their
position could also frustrate potential hacking attempts by making
patterns more unpredictable. The system can also selectively use
invisible dots too, which aren’t present on the UI but which work in
tandem with visible hit points to track a path.

Other variables that could add to gesture complexity include counting
things like the speed of entry, pauses and other timing elements into
the code. Entering the same gesture different ways would therefore
produce different results, with only one right way to trigger an unlock.

There’s still more, too – the system supports the use of multi-finger
input, and has a code strength support meter not unlike those used for
text and number based passcodes today. It would rank patterns as high or
low based on how long they were, how complex, how random and other

Apple isn’t likely to build this system into any devices in the near
future, since it skirts too closely to drawing comparisons to Android,
but it does show the Mac maker thinking in-depth about what comes after
the alphanumeric password, since conceivably future systems will need
much more complex security measures to frustrate hacking attempts.

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