Apple really doesn’t want you to record videos where it’s forbidden.
The nuisance of audience members ruining concerts and plays by recording them on their phones could soon be a thing of the past after Apple patented a technology that blocks the iPhone’s camera feature.
The company’s invention would allow venues to use an infrared beam to disable photography on mobile phones, preventing people from taking videos and photos.
The invention comes amid growing frustration that intimate live events are being spoiled by a sea of screens as visitors record videos in order to share them on social media.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch recently pleaded with fans to stop filming while he performed in Hamlet, and the pop singer Adele told a female fan filming on her mobile at a concert in Italy to “enjoy it in real life rather than through your camera”.
Apple’s patent, which illustrates how an iPhone would become temporarily disabled during a rock concert, would require an infrared transmitter to be installed at shows.
When switched on, the patent says, the phone would simply display a “recording disabled” message when audience members attempt to take photographs or videos. Alternatively, a watermark or blur effect may be applied, to discourage people from sharing them.
It is unclear whether Apple intends to apply the technology to the iPhone, as companies often patent inventions without using them, but clamping down on recording would be welcomed by many artists and venues.
Other initiatives include shining lasers on visitors who use mobile phones during performances, which has become a popular tactic in cinemas in China and was recently adopted by London’s Jermyn Street Theatre.
If Apple’s technology is introduced, however, it could lead to fears that it would be used by oppressive regimes and law enforcement to prevent citizens documenting oppression.