The US Patent and Trademark Office published a pair of interesting Apple patent applications yesterday. The filings are titled ‘Gesture entry techniques,’ and together they describe a device-unlocking feature that involves a user drawing a custom pattern on a screen by connecting illuminated dots.

Apple filed for the patent in late 2012, several years after Google introduced a very similar feature in Android. It would appear, though, that the iPad-maker’s version of the gesture-based password is at least slightly more advanced, as it can account for swipe speed, use of invisible dots, and more…

PatentlyApple has more on the two applications:

Apple’s invention generally relates to electronic devices, and more specifically to techniques for entering authentication gestures into electronic devices. Today’s invention revelations add to the secure measure of Apple’s Touch ID. Apple notes that the invention relates to the use of security measures based on non-alphanumeric inputs that are user configurable (as opposed to purely biometric inputs) to control access to restricted information or functions. 

Apple notes that access to confidential information may be based on a gesture input via a touch sensitive input device, such as a touch sensitive display or touchpad. A gesture may be used to invoke one or more authentication screens, such as, a gesture entry screen, a gesture replay screen, and a gesture re-entry verification screen, for accessing confidential information or functions that may be otherwise unavailable.

Again, Apple explains that users can utilize ‘invisible dots’ or tap other areas of the screen as part of their sequence to make their gesture passwords more secure. The system can also recognize the acceleration and deceleration of a finger swipe, as well as multiple fingers, further adding to its complexity.

Keep in mind that this is simply a patent application, submitted two years ago, and it’s not likely that we’ll see this incorporated into future versions of iOS. For one, Touch ID is expected to hit more devices this year, and don’t forget that Apple is currently suing Samsung over its ‘Slide to Unlock’ feature.

  • Framboogle


    • Jeffrey


    • Maxim∑

      its more of this, supposed to use a gesture like password on the display but will scan your finger at the same time to get a full 360 degree print and avoid counterfeiting (apple patent on the same day as this one)

      • So, in other words, it’s just Draw Pattern AND scan your finger? Such innovation, my ass…

      • Basically they copied the gesture based passwords from Windows 8? You can tap or draw straight lines or make curves. I think it’s very nice and more importantly secure.

    • DogeCoin

      such apple

  • Farbod

    Why would they need a new passcode system when touch I’d is going to be default on iPhones? I think a 4 digit passcode is enough when touch is can’t be used (like after rebooting)

    • Andreas

      Please read the article again and then comment. Your comment are pretty dumb if you read the whole text.

    • NekoMichi Kobayashi

      The article stated that this patent filing is from 2012, a year before the introduction of Touch ID. Please read the full article before commenting.

  • chris125

    Can’t wait for apple to try and sue android OEMs who have been using this even before apple filed for this patent. /s Not sure how they give these patents when there is clearly prior art..

  • At

    Does anyone actually use the swipe password feature on android?

    • I do. And it’s called “pattern lock”

    • I use it on windows 8. It’s more secure as you don’t have dots. And you can swipe in curves, straight lines, or even taps.

    • momerathe

      I use it on my iphone (AndroidLock XT)

    • DeAndre Enrico

      When I had an Android phone I used the pattern passcode. It’s much more convenient than typing in numbers or letters.

  • hkgsulphate

    didn’t android patent that???

  • Ready… get set… sue!!!!!

  • So, it’s a software evolution of what’s been around for years? I.e. Add speed to the equation and this is considered new? How’s this allowed and swiping to unlock in a different fashion (i.e. swipe in any direction from anywhere) not allowed? Such stupidly self-contradicting American system…

  • @sexyhamthing


  • Adithya Sairam

    So late Apple… This has been around for so long with AndroidLock XT and PatternUnlock.