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Apple granted patent for system to block music fans from filming live shows

By | Published on Wednesday 29 June 2016

iPhone camera disabled

Apple has been granted a patent for a system that would block iPhones from taking photos and videos at live shows (or anywhere else you didn’t want them to).

The patent for the technology was originally submitted by Apple in 2011, then resubmitted in 2014, before being granted this week, according to Patently Apple. Using infrared light invisible to the human eye to transmit data to smartphone cameras, its primary use would seemingly be to provide augmented reality experiences in places like museums. However, a secondary use could be to disable the cameras.

The use of phones to photograph and video gigs has become a controversial topic in recent years, of course. Some feel like it’s a perfectly acceptable way to engage with a performance, while other people aren’t dickheads. Some artists have taken to putting up signs asking fans not to use their phones during the show, others have taken to shouting at people from the stage, and then there’s this frankly unworkable-sounding system. Contrary types Radiohead, of course, are encouraging fans to film their current shows.

Whether or not Apple’s system will ever get beyond the patent stage remains to be seen. If it does, it’ll be interesting to see what take up it has with artists and venues, and what reaction it would get from fans.