New patent shows Touch ID integrated into Apple TV and HomeKit accessories

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What you need to know

  • Apple's new patent shows Touch ID capabilities integrated into the Apple TV remote and secure HomeKit accessories.
  • The patent could feature multiple ways to collect and verify biometric data wirelessly.
  • This new capability could provide new ways to access settings and parental controls.

As reported by Patently Apple, Apple has won a patent that shows Touch ID controls integrated into an Apple TV remote. This function would work using one of many sensory collecting methods including sound, infrared, and near-field communcation to verify biometric data wirelessly.

Why would anyone want this? Perhaps TV settings and parental controls would be the easiest answer. The remote could determine who is holding it and then restrict what kind of content that could be accessed based on the biometric information it gathers. That way parents could access more mature content when children are away but don't have to worry about kids accessing it themselves when alone.

The patent goes on to indicate that this technology could be used in various HomeKit accessories allowing people to more easily adjust smart home settings like thermostat temperatures, compatible accessories, health monitoring devices, and more. Over time the different kinds of ways the remote collects biometric data could evolve to include facial images, gestures, or maybe even retinal scans.

As always, it's important to remember that patents don't always result in an actual product and are often just a way for a company to get ideas out. We'll have to see if these possible new features ever actually make it to Apple TV and HomeKit accessories. But it's always good to see Apple experimenting with new technologies and new ways of interacting with the devices we so often use.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.