Apple granted patents for securing accessory devices (including on an Apple Car)

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a computing device configured to secure access to its accessory interface in order to prevent unauthorized use.

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,205,021) for “security accessory interface.” The goal is to make Mac, iPad, and iPhone accessories easier to connect and secure from unauthorized users. The patent could also apply to accessories for the rumored “Apple Car.”

About the patent

In the patent, Apple notes that while interfaces to accessory devices can be important to the user experience, they increase the attack surface of a device as they provide a way for an unauthorized person with physical access to a device to potentially compromise the device. Such devices input device, storage device, a network interface card, a display, an external graphics processing unit (GPU), an audio system, a vehicle navigation system, etc. Apple wants to make pairing and using them easier and more secure.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “Techniques are disclosed relating to securing an accessory interface on a computing device. In various embodiments, a computing device detects a connection of an accessory device to an accessory interface port and, in response to the detected connection, evaluates a policy defining one or more criteria for restricting unauthorized access to the accessory interface port. Based on the evaluating, the computing device determines whether to disable the accessory interface port to prevent communication with the connected accessory device. 

“In some embodiments, the computing device includes an interconnect coupled between the processor and the accessory interface port, and the interconnect includes a hub circuit configured to facilitate communication between a plurality of devices via the interconnect. In some embodiments, the computing device, in response to determining to disable the accessory interface port, instructs the hub circuit to prevent traffic from being conveyed from the accessory interface port.”

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.