Apple has filed a patent application for a system that would allow a MacBook or iMac to be unlocked via a synced iPhone’s Touch ID system. As the patent application details, when a user scans her finger on an iPhone’s Touch ID device to unlock it, a signal would be sent from that iPhone to an authorized computer, unlocking that second device automatically.
The idea is generally in keeping with Apple’s highly integrated approach to its product ecosystem, which allows a high degree of interoperability between devices; for example, an iPhone user can receive and send iMessages from a MacBook and an iPad, and can use FaceTime across all such devices. And this isn’t the first time Apple has displayed an interest in bringing biometric unlocking to its computers—rumors were already circulating early last year that Apple was planning to bring Touch ID to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, among other products.
Meanwhile, such a system already exists. Developed by a third party, it’s called MacID, and allows users to unlock their Apple computers via their smartphones’ Touch ID systems. And another developer has even brought this functionality to Android via an app called DroidID. Still, given Apple’s propensity to tightly control its device and software ecosystem, making something like MacID a standard, embedded feature of its products would be a natural move forward.