KEY POINTS

  • Apple is working on a new kind of privacy screen based on a new patent
  • The invention will make sure that prying eyes won't see anything on the display
  • Apple's Clement Pierre Nicolas Boissi Re and Timothy R. Oriol's patent for a new "Privacy Screen" hasn't been granted yet

Privacy is a major issue for many smartphone and computer users as device displays will always show information to anyone with a direct view of the screen. But Apple may have found a solution to this.

In order to maintain their privacy, people often need to cover the display of their device, or at least point it away, from someone who may be able to see the screen, especially when typing documents on their computers or composing text messages and emails on their smartphones. They might also resort to using privacy screens to keep prying eyes from seeing what they shouldn't see.

Apple's Clement Pierre Nicolas Boissi Re and Timothy R. Oriol know that these are not enough. They said that traditional privacy screens, which “restricts the angles at which light emitted from the display can be seen,” can push users to increase brightness levels and drain the device's battery. Such displays might not also prevent those who stand directly behind the user from seeing what's on display.

In order to help users maintain their privacy, the two inventors have applied a patent for a new “Privacy Screen.”

The new privacy screen described in the patent does not work like traditional privacy screens. Instead, this new invention makes use of another screen in another device. Apple Insider calls this new invention “Apple Glass.”

Per the patent, a device with a display (the “Apple Glass”) will receive content data from a second device with a display such as an iPhone. The iPhone's display will be shown as blank to those who are not using the Apple Glass. The one who uses the Apple Glass, however, will see the content.

Patent illustrations show how the new privacy screen will work. Those who have the Apple Glass will need to place it at a viewing angle from the iPhone, such as right in front of the handset, to see what's being displayed. The new privacy screen will then effectively prevent unauthorized people from seeing what's being displayed – whether it's an email, a text, a video and so on.

The patent does not indicate a potential release date. It does, however, describe a potentially useful device, particularly for those who are always on the go and need to work in public.

Apple's new Privacy Screen Apple's new Privacy Screen patent shows how the invention will keep iPhone screens safe from prying eyes. Photo: Apple/USPTO