Apple filed a patent for technology that will let you covertly call 911.
Calls to emergency services could become just a fingerprint away, thanks to Apple’s latest innovation.
A patent application from Apple published Tuesday, according to CNBC, described technology that would trigger a 911 call in a way that is designed to hide your actions from attackers.
This "panic command," when activated, would provide your location to first responders. It could also livestream audio or video from the phone.
The current means of phoning 911 are "readily apparent to someone watching," explains the author of the patent application. With this new technology, a user could appear to comply with an attacker’s request to unlock his or her phone, but actually covertly call 911.
If you’re worried about accidentally triggering the service, we understand. However, according to the patent, the panic command can only be triggered by an input entered with a "predetermined finger or finger sequence," i.e., pinky-index-ring.
Image: Apple/US Patent Office
One of the proposed sequences from the Apple patent
In any case, don’t get too worked up about this feature yet. It hasn’t been confirmed for the new iPhone 8, which may rely on facial recognition instead of a fingerprint sensor.
The patent also mentions a headphone jack, which Apple has annoyingly phased out, so it’s possible this patent is an older one that’s just now getting published.
Check out the entire patent below.
Obviously, there is room for human error in a service like this (you can just imagine accidental 911 butt dials), but there’s clearly a need to covertly communicate with emergency services. Remember the story of the woman who used her Pizza Hut order to save her family from a hostage situation?
Whether or not this feature becomes reality, at least it seems like Apple is working to make us safer.