Is Apple getting Android inspiration?

An internal app apparently uses a gesture-based lock screen for tighter security.

As Android phones continue to outsell iPhones, Apple has been apparently getting some inspiration from Google's mobile OS. A series of screenshots received by 9 To 5 Mac show Apple is using internally a version of the iOS lock screen with the gesture-based lock system found on Android phones.

The iOS gesture-based lock screen seems to work similarly to the dots unlock screen on Android. So instead of having to type in a password or a four-digit code, the user has to input a pattern previously defined and customized to unlock the phone. The same method is used for Android's vanilla (non-manufacturer customized) lock screen.

According to 9 To 5 Mac's unnamed source, Apple has already deployed this new lock screen for use internally in the staff-only Apple Connect app for iPhones. There is no word though on whether this feature will make it to consumers, but the report mentions that Apple plans to use this screen lock method inside other internal apps, like the one the company's retail store employees use.

One of the main reasons the dots screen lock won't ever make it into a public iOS release, 9 To 5 Mac speculates, is because Google probably owns the patent on this system, making it unlikely that the company would license it to its most bitter competitor.

The gesture-based lock screen, made popular by Google Android phones, is generally seen as more secure than the generic password of four-digit screen locks. However, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found (PDF) that the dots lock screen can be susceptible to "smudge attacks," due to the oily residues left by fingers on the screen being able to reveal the lock pattern. An easy solution to avoid this is to simply keep the phone's screen clean.

Follow Daniel Ionescu and Today @ PCWorld on Twitter

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleconsumer electronicsGooglehardware security componentsiPhone 5iPhonePhonesAndroidiphone 4

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?