Apple wants to make it easier to deal with unintentional touches on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,256,367) for “techniques for handling unintentional inputs on a touch-sensitive surface.” The patent involves, of course, the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch — especially the first two devices with their larger screens.

About the patent

Touch screens on such devices can, of course, allow a user to perform various functions by touching the touch sensor panel using a finger, stylus or other object at a location often dictated by a user interface (UI) being displayed by the display device. In general, touch screens can recognize a touch and the position of the touch on the touch sensor panel, and the computing system can then interpret the touch in accordance with the display appearing at the time of the touch, and thereafter can perform one or more actions based on the touch. 

However, in the case of some touch sensing systems, a physical touch on the display is not needed to detect a touch. For example, in some capacitive-type touch sensing systems, fringing electrical fields used to detect touch can extend beyond the surface of the display, and objects approaching near the surface may be detected near the surface without actually touching the surface. 

However, sometimes a user may inadvertently cause a touch reaction when holding an iPhone or iPad In the patent data, Apple notes that grip detection can be beneficial for an electronic device to ignore unintended contacts on a touch sensitive surface. 

About the patent 

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent with the technical details:
Examples of the disclosure provide various ways for identifying an input patch as a grip. In some examples, identifying an input patch as a grip comprises determining whether the input patch satisfies one or more grip identification criteria. 

“In some examples, identified grips are saved in a grip database. In some examples, the identified grips are filtered out of touch images. In some examples, when baseline touch data for a touch-sensitive is updated, the touch processor can forgo updating the baseline for portions of the touch sensitive surface associated with the identified grips.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.