Apple wants to make it easy to disable payments if your device gets stolen or lost

FIG. 5 is a drawing illustrates communication between electronic devices to disable payments.

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11580518 B2) for “disabling mobile payments for lost electronic devices.” The goal is to make it easy to stop payments on a Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc., is lost or stolen.

About the patent

Many modern electronic devices typically include a networking subsystem that is used to wirelessly communicate with other electronic devices. There’s increasing interest in using such electronic devices to conduct financial transactions. 

To facilitate this functionality, an electronic device may include a secure element to provide: security, confidentiality, and one or more application environments. The secure element may include one or more applets or applications (such as a payment applet associated with a credit card) that execute in an environment of secure element, where the applets allow the secure element to conduct a financial transaction with another electronic device, such as a point-of-sale terminal.

However, as Apple notes, enabling a user to conduct financial transactions using electronic devices also presents a security risk. In particular, if a user loses their electronic device, there is a risk that the lost electronic device could be used to conduct fraudulent financial transactions. That’s why Apple wants users to be able to limit the risk associated with lost electronic devices.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “If a user loses an electronic device that has the capability to conduct financial transactions, the user may report that the electronic device is lost using a lost-device software application to a management electronic device associated with a provider of the electronic device. In response to receiving this information, a disabling command is sent to a payment network associated with the financial account of the user to temporarily disable use of the electronic device to conduct the financial transactions. 

“In particular, the electronic device may include a secure element that stores a payment applet for a financial account, and the disabling command may disable a mapping from a virtual identifier for the financial account to a financial primary account number. Subsequently, if the user finds the electronic device, the user may re-enable the capability (and, thus, the mapping) by providing authentication information to the electronic device.

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.