TECHNOLOGIES

Your next iPhone screen could block nosy onlookers

OK, I'll admit it. I've occasionally snooped on what the person next to me on the subway was doing on their phone. Are they listening to a cool podcast? Is that their ex they're texting? Are they better than me at Threes?  And every once in a blue moon I find some busybody seeing what's in my Twitter feed.

But it appears that Apple wants to put an end to that nosy behavior. AppleInsider discovered a patent from the iPhone maker that could let users limit the field of view on their screens.

The patent, entitled "Displays With Adjustable Angles of View" discusses using an "electrically adjustable lens array" within the screen to target the backlight in a way that only one person could see the screen at a time.

It sounds like this would be an option that you could enable or disable at your liking, allowing for the wide angles you're used to most of the time but preventing your nosy neighbor on a flight from seeing your emails with just a change in settings.

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While some screen protector companies sell films that attach to displays for a similar effect, it's far clumsier than something built into the display. HP recently built a similar feature called SureView into some laptops, which we found on Laptop Mag to be very effective. But SureView makes the scren less bright and colorful. I'm curious to see if Apple's light-based solution maintains the vivid colors on its displays.

The patent was first filed in June of 2016, but became public on Thursday.

It's unlikely that this technology would make it to the iPhone 8, rumored to be launching this fall with an OLED, edge-to-edge display, dual cameras, wireless charging and facial scanning. But it could be ready for the iPhone 9.