A newly published patent, reported by Patently Apple, details additional security features that we may see in future versions of the Find my iPhone system on iOS devices. The patent filing, also reported on by Macrumors, indicates that we may have more control over how our devices are used when they’re lost or stolen and what actions can be performed by people who aren’t the owners.
Note that the text on the graphics provided in the patent filing all refer to a ‘St. John Smyth’. This is one of the aliases of James Bond, from the movie ‘A View to a Kill‘ (or very close to it as it’s spelled ‘Smythe’ in the movie). Clearly someone at Apple is a Bond fan.
The salient points seem to be centered around protections for unauthorized access to your data. An automatic monitoring and lockdown system that could be activated by repeatedly entering the wrong passcode seems like an enhancement of the current system that increases the lockout period after a certain number of incorrect entries.
There also seem to be plans here for extended control over which data is wiped or scrambled when a phone is lost or stolen. This way you wouldn’t have to wipe the entire phone, as the system works now, and would be able to continue to monitor the device to attempt a recovery. Having the ability to selectively disable features like VPN access, phone calls or texts is also mentioned in the patent.
These features seem like a nice improvement to the way that Find my iPhone works and they’re just plausible enough that we may see them soon. Hopefully Cristopher Walken and Grace Jones won’t steal your iPhone between now and then.