Apple patent involves a ‘return to sender’ feature for file editing apps

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20170230318) for a “return to sender” feature for macOS and iOS apps such as Mail and Messages (and perhaps Pages, Numbers, and Keynote).

Per the invention, a return to sender option can be invoked from within a file editing application when you’ve edited a file received as a message attachment. You can select a file attached to a message from within a messaging application. A file editor can be invoked to open and edit the file. 

Then you can select a return to sender option from within the file editor. In response to the selection of the return to sender option, the edited file can be automatically saved, a reply message can be automatically generated and the edited file can be automatically attached to the reply message.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that electronic messaging applications (e.g., email, instant messaging, text messaging applications, etc.) on computing devices often allow a user to receive files as attachments to messages from users of other devices. Sometimes the receiving user needs to edit and return a file attachment to the sending user. 

The process of opening, editing, saving, and attaching the file attachment to a reply message can be a tedious and time consuming process. Apple wants to change this.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.