Apple files for user behavior patent, suggesting future iPhones could have improved anti-theft measures

iPhone 5s 5c

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published a new patent filing on Thursday for an Apple invention that relates to notifications being generated based on changes in user behavior. It is possible that Apple could use this technology in a future iPhone so that the smartphone can recognize when it is being used differently and respond accordingly. 

These behavior recognition techniques would allow for an iPhone to determine whether the current user is the owner of the device or someone else. For instance, if a thief was to steal your iPhone, the handset could automatically lock or display a certain notification because of a detected change in user behavior. AppleInsider shares some additional details on how it could work:

“The system relies on pattern recognition and learning to parse out unusual behavior. Any form of input or interaction with the device can be put compiled for behavior data acquisition, including system data like location, motion sensor data, and input gesture patterns. Other data like grammar, vocabulary and even keyboard orientation preferences may be stored for later recall and analysis.”

The patent pending technology would monitor a user’s behavior at all times, comparing it to the data for the device owner. As explained in the patent filing, an iPhone’s accelerometer can generate a user’s gait and do a side-by-side comparison of that information with data stored onboard or through a remote server like iCloud. The illustration below visualizes this technical process.

iPhone User Behavior Patent

The feature would be quite intuitive, able to detect common texting spelling mistakes and frequently used phrases. To ensure that there are no privacy issues, a user can also configure the user behavior system to disable things like location preferences. “In these cases, generalizations and relative positioning replace granular data, protecting individuals from intrusive analysis,” adds the report.

To regain control of a locked device, a trusted user could enter their password or use Touch ID.

Apple filed for this patent in January, listing Gregory Lydon, Louboutin and Sylvain Rene Ryes as its inventors.