Apple Granted Patent for the iOS ‘Slide to Unlock’ Gesture


Slide to Unlock Doormat •
Slide to Unlock Doormat •

“BOOM!” That’s what Steve Jobs said when he demoed the Slide to Unlock gesture on the iPhone in January of 2007. Whether you’re on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you always have to slide your finger across that slider to get past the Lock screen. It’s become a staple aspect of iOS and Apple’s mobile products.

The United States Patent & Trademark Office granted Apple the patent for Slide to Unlock today. This means that no other company can use the gesture without infringing on Apple’s new patent. Boom.

The patent document explains:

A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.

There have been murmurs that Apple will eventually implement Android’s customizable gesture unlock method for customers. Jailbreakers have been able to change and remove the Slide to Unlock aspect of the Lock screen for years. But it seems fairly unlikely: Apple favors simple, single solutions instead of complexity born from user adjustability, and Slide to Unlock just works so well.

Would you like to see more options for unlocking your iOS device? Customizable gestures? Fingerprint scans? Tell us your crazy ideas below!

(via 9to5Mac)

  • UriKelman

    Would this new patent force Google to change their lock screen on Android?

  • GregsTechBlog

    That’s what I was thinking. The quote made it seem as though using any gesture to unlock the phone would be covered by this patent. 

  • Arron Hunt

    No, Android uses “Swipe” to unlock. Different.


  • Norton Hester Reardon III

    Boom goes the dynamite!!! Face.

  • Daibidh

    And the prior art of the Neonode N1m Windows CE phone released 9 months prior to the Apple filing back in 2005?  

  • Mike google

    Get Ready SAMMY ;) brrr

  • Mike McDorthy

    “ complexity born from user adjustability“

    Worst thing I read all day.

  • Absolute

    If there is no predefined unlock location (i.e ICS or Honeycomb lockscreens) is this patent valid or does “outside of the circle” quality as a predefined area?

  • Absolute

    If there is no predefined unlock location (i.e ICS or Honeycomb lockscreens) is this patent valid or does “outside of the circle” quality as a predefined area?

  • ken147

    whats the patent number?

    EDIT: found it:

  • thiago_silva

    Android pattern unlock is really cool. I’d like to see that on iOS.

  • Cleosbaby50

    I want the door mat!

  • cliqsquad

    What I want to see is the option to use vocal recognition via Siri. I am sure you noticed what a pain in the butt it is to have a lock code on your phone. Have to slide to unlock, then enter pass code. Apple needs to simplify it a bit more. Adding Vocal recognition is the opposite side of where Android is going with facial recognition and it should fit in nicely with Apple’s virtual assistance goals. 

    Me: Siri unlock my phone 
    Siri: One moment please (matches voice) 
    Siri:  Welcome “Your Name” (or a simple “Hello username” “phone unlocked” or something clever)

  • CharliK

    Actually based on the patent it doesn’t matter if they all it Slide or Swipe. if the gesture is pre-set with a graphic or other UI element to show you just what to do and where then it could be a patent violation. 

    Most Android phones may get around it because the user sets the pattern that unlocks the device not the software.  Other ones will likely get around it because you don’t swipe in one spot but anywhere on the screen which then activates a pass code key pad. and so on

    But keep in mind that it is possible that Google knew that Apple had filed this patent and licensed said tech from Apple so it’s not an issue. So long as they use a different UI element etc so they aren’t infringing on Apple’s trade dress

  • cliqsquad

    I really doubt branding it “Swipe” over “Slide” will protect them. It is broad and appears to cover any touch gestures that unlocks a touch display device. It is more about actions preformed.

  • APPL13D5C13NC3

    I want those shoes lol

  • Alfiejr

    exactly. voice print. automatically wakes up the iOS device and logs you in. any phrase you “teach” iOS to use.

    like “Hal, wake up.”

    “Good morning [or whatever], John.”

    “Open the pod bay doors.”

    “i’m sorry, i can’t do that. would you like to hear a song?”

    Apple is crazy if they don’t do this ASAP. also crazy if they don’t license the Hal voice rights pronto.

  • techgeek01

    I don’t think so.  but that being said, I know that there are various “unlock” screens you can have.

    I guess it really depends on how “vague” judges would find this, if apple decides to take it to court.

    But looking at it right now, I don’t think there is any android lock screen that is “similar” to this….. (meaning the same)

    But there could be more than well be a variation out there that could be similar. 

  • Connor Mulcahey

    Thats what jail breaking is for

  • Youare

    Then you would be gay

  • APPL13D5C13NC3

    Eat my ass you stupid fuck.

  • Adrian Werner

    Patent won’t hold up in court because of phones like Neonode N1m. The only thing Apple could manage to enforce is the specific way of doing it ilustrated by the drawing included in the patent, going outside of that by trying to cover all gestures just won’t work.

  • DAWeeE1

    What a ridiculous and stupid patent, Apple just keeps sinking lower and lower.