Apple TV biometric Touch ID
A device, such as an Apple TV, could be controlled in the future by a remote with Touch ID technology. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The one drawback to sharing an Apple TV or an iPad is that one configuration doesn’t necessarily work for others. But a new invention from Apple could make it easier to customize a device for each user -- with just a fingerprint.

A patent application titled “Device Configuration for Multiple Users Using Remote User Biometrics,” was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. It describes a method in which a remote with a Touch ID sensor sends fingerprint data to a device -- such as an Apple TV -- and configures it based on the profile associated with the information. This would allow individual users to customize an Apple TV to their liking while using a fingerprint to switch between profiles.

Apple Touch ID Remote
A patent illustration demonstrating a biometric remote that can control a television set or other devices. USPTO/Apple Inc.

The example Apple uses is a television and a remote control with a biometric sensor. But it also proposes using the same technology in other applications such as on smartphones, home automation controls, set-top boxes and laptop computers. The invention could also pave the way for multiple user profiles or logins on other Apple devices -- such as iPhones or iPads.

In one example, the invention could be used by a parent to access any show. But after a period of time, the television set-top box would reconfigure itself to a profile that locks out mature content. The technology could also be used to bring up individual users’ music playlists and then switch back to a generic user profile after a set timeframe.

Flowchart Apple biometric remote
A flowchart demonstrating how a device would switch between user profiles. USPTO/Apple Inc.

As with any patent application submitted by Apple, it’s unknown if or when it plans to integrate the invention into one of its devices. The application was first filed on January 23, 2014 and credits Apple engineers Michael Divincent, Nicole Hollopeter and Ruben Caballero for the invention.

Apple was intially expected to unveil a new Apple TV at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. But the product was further delayed, according to the New York Times and Re/code.