Apple could foil iPhone jailbreakers with new patent


In its latest patent bid, Apple has revealed it could close down jailbroken iPhones with new technology.

The purpose of the patent, published online last week, is to "identify unauthorised users of an electronic device" and either notify the genuine owner or stop the device from working.

However, as well as protecting users if their handset is stolen, the patent specifically mentions jailbreaking as a way of recognising an unauthorised user, meaning the company could restrict access to an iPhone if this act was carried out.

"In some embodiments, an unauthorised user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behaviour," read the patent.

"For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorised user."

Some more unusual techniques have been included to ensure the person using the phone is the rightful owner. Along with face and voice recognition, the patent included the ability to record and compare heartbeats.

"The heartbeat of the current user can be taken [and] can be compared, respectively, to a heartbeat of authorised users of the electronic device to determine whether they match," the patent read.

Once an unauthorised user is detected, Apple will be able to send what it claimed was a "subtle" notification via email, voicemail or text message to the owner and restrict access to the phone if necessary.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.