Despite the added risk brought on by Apple's Find My iPhone feature, the iOS handset remains a frequent target for smartphone thieves, thanks to the device's resale value and compatibility with networks around the world. There's not much you can do to deter sticky fingers short of keeping your iPhone or MacBook in view at all times, but the issue does appear to have crossed the desks of Apple's design team, which was just granted patent number 8,217,792 for a sophisticated anti-theft scheme. The acceleration-based system would detect a "known theft condition" based on acceleration characteristics, sounding an alarm and disabling the device. The smartphone or laptop would ignore vibrations from passing cars or those caused by items being dropped onto a nearby surface, instead focusing on undisclosed scenarios that likely involve direct movement. The device owner would use a GUI to configure and disable the system, at which point the handset or computer would return to its pre-disturbed mode. Overall, it sounds like a fairly straightforward hardware/software solution, with the added benefit of a technique to filter out regular motion in an attempt to reduce the number of false alarms. You'll find the full patent at the source link below.
Apple granted patent for accelerometer-aided theft-detection system
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