If you have ever lost an iPhone or any other Apple device, you would know the agony and the helplessness when you realize you didn’t turn on Find My iPhone before your device was lost or stolen. (Because that s an essential prerequisite for Find My iPhone to work). Apple seems to be working on a fix for this problem. It has filed a new patent for a technology that makes it easier for users to find a wireless device even after it has been switched off. Also Read - Meet Indian developer who wins Apple Design award for his music app NaadSadhanaAlso Read - iPad Mini for 2021 to ditch fat bezels, could bring along new Apple Pencil Mini
Published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on November 3, the patent is titled ‘Apparatus and method for determining a wireless device’s location after shutdown’. The patent states that the new wireless data processing technology will be able to transmit location data even when the device is in an unpowered state. It uses a circuitry that maintains location data in both powered and unpowered state. Essentially, the patent will enable the Find My iPhone app to quietly power up the handset at timed intervals and sending out location data to the owner via email, instant message, SMS texts or GPS, and then shutting down the phone again to save the battery. Also Read - iOS 4 is now available again on modern iPhones, complete with Home button: How to get it
Of course, if you think, a limitation of this patent would be that it will prove useful only if the phone has battery. However, it explains that only essential hardware components would be activated with the feature, with the display turned off to prolong power. Also the turned off display will keep the phone from offering any cues to the thief that it is sending information back to the rightful owner. ALSO READ: Apple iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus to reportedly get a new ‘Jet White’ color option
Right now, for the Find My iPhone to work, you have to first of all make sure that you have the app installed in your Apple device before any mishap takes place. Also, you can only track the device or retrieve information from it till it is powered on. However, if your missing device is off or offline, you can track it only when it is powered on again. So if the thief is a pro, in all probability, you ll never find your iPhone.
However, the patent describes the feature would also protect your phone when powered on, as it would demand to input the security pin in order to disable this location feature or to switch the phone off. So, in case the input pin is incorrect, the feature will remain activated. ALSO READ: Apple enhances iOS accessibility features for users with hearing impairments
Another useful improvement for this potential upgrade to the Find My iPhone app is the fact that it could transmit data and notify owners via several medium, rather than the current method where either you need to use friend’s Find My iPhone app or rush to login to your iCloud account on a computer. The improvements would go a long way to hopefully help prevent thefts of smartphones and would help plug some of the gaping problems with Find My iPhone, however being a patent there’s no way of knowing if and when the feature will ever see the light of day.