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iPhone selfies may soon have a purpose thanks to this Apple patent

Apple has received a patent for facial recognition software, which could allow users to unlock their mobile device without a pass code or Touch ID.

The patent, awarded this week (via Recode), could see Apple deploy the FaceTime HD camera in order to scan the iPhone-owner’s face and grant access to the device.

Such a scheme would allow users to by-pass the fingerprint sensor and 4-digit PIN currently used to protect smartphones and tablets from unwanted snooping.

According to the patent filing, the technology could be used to allow multiple members of the same family to unlock the device.

Apple also explains how the technology could be used on an unlocked mobile in order to return it to the locked state, if the user is unauthorised.

The patent filing reads: “In an embodiment of the invention, an unlocked mobile device is configured to capture images, analyse the images to detect a user’s face, and automatically lock the device in response to determining that a user’s face does not appear in the images. The camera capturing and face recognition processing may be triggered by the device having detected that it has been motionless for a threshold period of time.”

Read more: iPhone 6 review

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first facial recognition tool deployed on smartphones.

Some Android users have been making use of the Smart Lock technology in order to gain access to Google-powered devices. That tool makes it easy to set up a ‘trusted face,’ while also improve the face matching tech on offer.

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