Apple’s new operating system will come with an option to lock your iPhone‘s fingerprint scanner and bring up a hotline to the police.
The ‘Emergency SOS’ feature was uncovered by programmers with access to the beta version of iOS 11.
They found that TouchID was temporarily disabled by rapidly hitting the power button five times.
This means that users could not be forced to unlock their phones by attackers or thieves.
The ‘Emergency SOS’ feature was uncovered by programmers with access to the beta version of iOS 11. It also brings up a shortcut to dial emergency services
It also brings up a shortcut to dial emergency services, allowing the user to simply swipe right to dial 999.
TouchID is then reactivated by entering your password.
On activation, the Emergency SOS feature will send a message to the user’s saved emergency contacts, and also shares their location.
The feature will be available on new iPhone models when i0S 11 is publicly released later this year, The Verge reported.
It could be a desirable asset for iPhone 8 buyers, which is rumoured to offer facial recognition unlocking.
However, concerns have been raised over the potential for users being forced to unlock their phones using facial recognition.
Emergency SOS will allow the person using it to quickly disable the instant-unlock capabilities, should they believe someone might try and forcibly bypass their phone’s security.
The iOS 11 operating system is expected to be released alongside the iPhone 8 in September.
ENCRYPTION, PRIVACY AND THE FBI: WHY COOK WOULDN’T BUDGE ON A ‘BACKDOOR’
Unlocking phones using fingerprints and encrypted messaging have remained controversial issues since Apple launched TouchID in 2014.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said previously that he won’t weaken the unbreakable encryption technology on Apple products to allow the US government to access iMessages because it could actually damage national security.
Cook said he will not create a ‘back door’ for the government unless Apple is served with a warrant.
Apple’s encryption technology makes it impossible for anyone but the intended recipient to see a message and it’s so strong even the company can’t get to communications.
Ex-FBI Director James Comey, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron and others had all called for Apple and other tech companies to create ways to access messages sent by suspected criminals.
Cook said: ‘If the government lays a proper warrant on us today then we will give the specific information that is requested.
‘Because we have to by law.
‘In the case of encrypted communication, we don’t have it to give.
‘And so if like your iMessages are encrypted, we don’t have access to those.
The Apple CEO added: ‘There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door.
‘But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.’