Apple patents fingerprint dial tech
20 July 2017 15:31 GMT

Apple has patented a process that would allow users to secretly call 911 in the US, 999 in the UK, by using only their fingerprint.

In a patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, the tech giant outlined a feature that would allow users to call emergency services "when a conventional method may not be practical."

Although it's already possible to call 911 through the lockscreen on iOS devices, this would allow users to reach out for help when an attacker or assailant is watching, the patent said.

The company suggests the technology would look for a sequence of fingerprints or applied pressure to trigger a 911 call.

"The user may program the electronic device to recognize input entered with a particular sequence of fingers, such as pinky-ring-pinky, as a command to make an emergency call," the patent states.

This means it might appear that a device owner is unlocking a phone for an attacker but they're discreetly contacting 911. But "no indication of the execution is apparent."