Remember just a few years ago, back to yesteryear when Android had all kinds of lockscreen widgets and the iPhone did not? Now the iPhone has lockscreen notifications, alerts, and widgets of all kinds and is about to get more.
Apple followed Android on lockscreen goodies and we’ll see even more soon, but apparently Apple was right all along and Android was wrong. If the lockscreen is a hub of easily accessed information, then it’s a security risk. Shame on Apple for following the crowd. My data is at risk now. Bah humbug.
The Two-level iPhone
Most iPhone users have only read about what’s coming in iOS 10, but the rearrangement of the lockscreen and corresponding widgets is one of the first functional changes you’ll run into. Thanks to 3D touch and the ongoing clamor to stuff more functionality into a single screen that’s instantly accessible, Apple is also making it easier for iPhone thieves to learn all about us without even cracking into the iPhone itself.
All that so-called accessibility that could be a security risk is user configurable but in the rush to stuff more functionality into a single screen, the iPhone is becoming a two-level device.
Level #1 – The lockscreen; widgets and notifications. For many apps, and more to come, what used to take multiple touches to open the lockscreen, open a folder to view an app icon, then open the app itself, then view the details, is moved front and center to easy access on the lockscreen. The same lockscreen widgets and notifications a thief can view when removing your iPhone from your person.
Level #2 – Apps and app folders. While lockscreen widgets don’t reveal all the details, they’re still available within the apps themselves, usually on the first or second screen, or organized by folders. Therein lies the problem that advocacy for lockscreen widgets and notifications can help reduce the time it takes to find and open apps.
iOS 10– with more attention on the lockscreen widget and notification phenomenon changes, almost fundamentally, how we use our iPhones. We can see first, then interact with an application quickly and easily– without opening the app at all. 3D Touch does much the same thing by providing additional functions with a single touch, and over time you’ll see more of that ‘instant open’ functionality show up in third party apps.
Convenience vs. Privacy
Plenty of information about you and what you’re doing can be gathered with little more than a quick glance at the iPhone’s lockscreen in iOS 10. Without Touch ID fingerprint verification. Without a password. It’s just there.
If you want your iPhone to be convenient, then you’re losing a measure of privacy. One way to overcome that is Touch ID. On iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Touch ID works so fast that sometimes you bypass the lockscreen and go straight to the Home screen app launchpad. That requires fingerprint verification. If Apple can somehow jigger the Home button and Touch ID with a setting that only allows the lockscreen to be viewed when the finger hits the Touch ID Home button (or, whatever Apple uses next; there’s talk that the Home button will disappear in the future) we can get both. Lockscreen widgets and notifications could not be viewed unless accessed by your finger and Touch ID.
That sounds like a reasonable feature that Apple could and should build into iOS 10.