Apple has Won a Patent for allowing Employers to Restrict what an Employee can do on Company Devices & more
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to controlling a satellite device. Meaning, an Employer may restrict their employee's usage of a company device to stay focused on relative business matters. For parents, it's to make sure your child's device (iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad etc.) is restricted to classes and class projects etc.
Apple's patent background notes that modern mobile devices are often a distraction during the day when the user of such devices should be focused on a productive activity, like working, learning, or participating in some other productive activity.
Apple's patented solution covers context-based restrictions that may restrict functionality of a device based on certain contexts. For example, an employer, such as an organization, may provide an employee with a mobile computing device. The device may be configured with enterprise management settings created by the employer's information technology department. These enterprise management settings may limit certain functionality of the employee's device in certain contexts (e.g., when the employee is at a workplace or at a client site or other work site).
As another example, a parent may configure a child's device with context-based restrictions. The parent may, for example, restrict the child's device from operating almost any functionality while the child is in school.
The context-based restrictions may affect the second device in other ways. For example, an employer may provide an employee with a mobile computing device. The employer may wish to see a record of all attempts to disable context-based restrictions made at the mobile computing device. The employer may configure context-based restrictions on the employee's mobile computing device that generate notifications at the mobile computing device notifying the employer that the employee attempted to disable context-based restrictions. The context-based restrictions may be a combination of two or more of the restriction types described above.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a block diagram of an example system for configuring context-based restrictions for a computing device; FIG. 4 shows a process for creating restricted mode configurations for a computing device; FIGS. 6a, 6b, and 6c show a number of display stages of a satellite device that is configured with restricted mode configurations.
Apple's patent FIG. 7 below is a system interaction diagram showing a trusted third party configuring a computing device with restricted mode configurations.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11468197. While Apple already offers this feature for parents with parental controls, the patent also covers employers restricting employee devices to matters of work-related apps and so forth. I've yet to see that feature emphasized by Apple as the patent does.
As a side note: My wife works for an international bank that primarily works with Windows PC's and they have restrictions on her PC. Whether Apple is currently promoting such a feature on Macs and iDevices for their business customers is unknown at this time.