iPhones’ Touch ID could eventually support multiple fingers and a panic mode

Apple already supports Touch ID on the iPhone and iPad. However, the company is investigating a safety feature that would let you use a designated finger or thumb to active a “panic mode.” Apple has filed for a patent (number 20150319294) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for such technology 

According to the patent, a fingerprint authentication technique would unlock your mobile phone and activate customized functions. You could control access to one or more iPhone functions by pressing your finger to a fingerprint sensor. The iPhone may be unlocked using a designated finger that activates a panic mode of operation. Personal data stored on the device wouldn’t accessible or viewable to during his mode. The patent would also allow you to register particular fingerprints to be associated with different modes of operation and activate the different modes based on the particular fingerprints.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that as mobile devices become more sophisticated and value, they’re also increasingly attractive to thieves. For instance, a thief could attempt to steal such a device in order to benefit from personal data stored on an iPhone, or to benefit from use or resale of the device itself. 

Generally, mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads include security mechanisms to prevent access by a user other than the registered user. Such security mechanisms may include password protection, biometric authentication, or facial recognition tools to authenticate a user of the device and prevent access by other users of the device. 

Apple wants to take these security features up a notch. device to activate different functions or different security modes of operation based on a particular fingerprint. For example, a user can program the mobile device to enter a limited access mode when the user scans their ring finger. Alternative examples can use other biometric or facial recognition to activate specific security modes.