Apple has patented a method for iPhones to store fingerprint information, upload to the cloud, and then download it on another iPhone.
The patent “Finger Biometric Sensor Data Synchronization VIA A Cloud Computing Device And Related Methods" was published by the USPTO on December 17, 2015, reports Slash Gear.
Filed in August, this envisioned process would allow Apple devices to collect fingerprint information, as they do today, but also upload that information to the cloud for storage.
Previously, Apple has shied away from storing biometric data in the cloud – and its security policy states: “An image of the fingerprint itself is never actually retained. Instead, Touch ID calculates a ‘mathematical representation’ of the key shapes of the fingerprint, which is than only ever kept locally on the iPhone 5s itself, not backed up to the cloud”.
However, underlining that it recognises the potential security issues this could raise, the firm states throughout the patent that only data is being stored – not images.
In one part of this new patent application description, Apple suggests that "In one example embodiment, the cloud computing device (37) may be part of the iCloud system from the present Assignee Apple Inc., although other cloud computing devices and systems may also be used."
To have this information uploaded for later use on other devices, users simply would need to sign in using their Apple ID. Apple suggests that "in some implementations, the first processor may encrypt the enrollment data and/or account data using an encryption algorithm prior to uploading, if desired …".