Details about Apple's next flagship device, the iPhone 7, are still unknown but a new patent filed by the company has revealed details about a possibly new security feature.
According to the tech giant's patent application, Apple is working on a panic mode feature that can be activated through a second fingerprint.
Since the release of the iPhone 5S, Apple supports have been familiar with the Touch ID feature. Basically, this feature works as a fingerprint sensor that iPhone owners can use to unlock their devices.
Since new versions of the Touch ID can support up to five fingerprints, Apple decided to further enhance the Touch ID's security features. One of the main improvements done by Apple is developing a panic mode function.
According to the company's patent application, when users feel they are being threatened by an attacker, they can activate the panic mode of the Touch ID through a second designated fingerprint, ZDNet reported.
Once activated, the device will lock or hide all personal contents of the device so the attacker or thief will not be able to access them.
"When the mobile device is unlocked into the panic mode, personal information items are not accessible," Apple wrote in the patent application. "Personal information items include a phonebook, contacts, emails, documents, messages, communication logs, photos, videos, schedules, supplementary services, etc."
"The mobile device would appear empty and applications would appear not to have any personal information," the company added.
Aside from protecting the contents of the device, the panic mode is also being designed to guard the overall safety of the owner and help law enforcers catch the attacker or thief.
As explained by the company, the panic mode is intended to work with the device's camera features to take photos or videos of the owner or attacker and send them to a remote server which the police can access.
Another planned feature of the panic mode is audio recording.
"When the oanic mode is activated, the device can begin audio recording and immediate transmission of the audio, as desired," Apple wrote. "The user of the device can start verbally describing the wrongdoer."
"In many instances, the wrongdoer will be known to the user," the company added. "In such a case, the user can merely state the known wrongdoer's name."
Apple also intends to make the panic mode feature work with other devices. For instance, when activated, another device, such as one owned by a friend or family member, will be alerted through an alarm. This will prompt the owner of the second device to come to the aid of the user who is in trouble, according to Mac Rumors.
It is not yet clear when the panic mode will be made available to the public but since it's still in its patent stage, it might take a while before it is released.