Apple has patented a feature that will allow users to secretly call 911 on their iPhone using their fingerprint when a conventional method may not be practical, and it could well come to iPhone 8 with iOS 11.
While most users consider their mobile phones to be their lifelines, the new feature might turn out to be exactly that.
Apple’s new upcoming feature, if and when released, will allow iOS users to reach out to 911 in a much more discreet manner. For the attacker, it will look as if the user is simply unlocking the device, but it will have actually triggered a 911 call for help, and maybe even start streaming live audio or video to emergency responders.
The feature will be a major improvement to the existing one, which allows the user to call 911 through the lock screen on iOS devices. The new feature will be more proactive in reaching out to 911 even in situations where the attacker or assailant is watching.
Several other advancements are anticipated that will help hide the user’s actions from a hypothetical attacker. For example, on activating the panic command set by the user, the phone will provide the user’s location to responders, and also livestream audio or video. Also, it is designed to hide or erase all security information like the user’s Social Security Number or home address.
Though the option already exists on the phone, Apple’s developers were looking at an advanced level by programming a code that the user can configure to seek help with just a tap on the phone, like a specific finger tap combination. By doing that, the phone will automatically know that the user is in trouble and dial out 911 in a discreet manner without leaving any indication of the execution.
For now, the feature is still in the early phase. Moreover, all published patents don’t necessarily make the final cut. But it is good to know that the company has given thought to this secret emergency calling advancement. Apple, of course, is not saying anything for now, but this could be a highlighted feature when iOS 11 finally comes to the public alongside iPhone 8.