Apple Patent Allows Tracking Of Powered Off Devices


As if mobile users aren’t paranoid enough, it turns out that an Apple patent will allow the company to track your device location even after it is powered down. The patent, titled “Apparatus and Method for Determining a Wireless Device’s Location After Shutdown” was awarded in September of last year.

A wireless data processing device is described which periodically exits an unpowered state and transmits location data. For example, one embodiment of a wireless data processing device comprises: power circuitry for maintaining the wireless data processing device in a powered or unpowered state, the power circuitry causing the wireless data processing device to enter into an unpowered state responsive to user input; a timer to periodically power up the wireless device or portion thereof in response to reaching a predetermined time; a location services module determining a current location of the wireless data processing device using one or more specified location determination techniques; a transmit thread transmitting the current location of the wireless device over one or more specified communication channels; and the power circuitry powering down the wireless data processing device a second time after the current location has been transmitted.

Before you go overboard and start crying foul, even though this patent would give Apple the ability to track your device after shutdown, this might be a very useful tool. Currently services such as Apple’s “Find My iPhone” or “Device Manager” for Android can tell you where you last had your device, based on the last known location when your device was on. Adding the technology and ability to track your device while it’s off could be useful, especially in cases of device theft.

Do patents like this make you more or less inclined to purchase an Apple device? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: USPTO
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