Recent reports reveal that Apple has a new privacy feature in the works: a newly registered patent indicates that future devices – both with curved and flat surfaces – may have a “privacy film.” Essentially, the privacy film is a light-redirecting and light-blocking layer on Apple device screens that would keep user information invisible to outside eyes, while remaining visible to the user. Think about it this way: you’re on the train making an online payment on your device, but don’t want others to see your screen as you enter sensitive information. With the feature detailed in Apple’s new patent, you would have the security of knowing that your screen is only visible to you.
What devices might have privacy film?
At this point, it is unclear from available information whether the film would be built-in to devices or an add-on. The patent includes a list of devices that may be relevant to the invention – which fit the description of a MacBook, iMac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch, among others.
The abstract for the patent briefly explains:
Privacy films used to cover curved displays may have opaque portions that extend along longitudinal axes that have different angles relative to the transparent substrates. Opaque portions in the edge of the privacy film may have longitudinal axes that are at non-perpendicular angles with respect to the transparent substrates. A privacy film for a curved display may also include a light-redirecting layer such as a prism layer or a liquid crystal layer.
The patent seems to be part of a larger wave of security moves on Apple’s part. Just this week, the company joined the FIDO Alliance, which aims to shift from the current reliance on passwords to biometrics and security keys. Another patent was also recently registered for Apple that indicates the possibility of introducing a touch ID option for Apple watches.