The document describes a method by which it would be possible to recognize the user by reading the fingerprints across the display.
Filed in January 2013, the patent details methods by which the new tech could be used to input or combine with advanced features.
In July 2012 Cupertino acquired AuthenTec, a firm specializing in this type of technology.
Apple is thinking about this feature in the idea that the next iPhone is likely to feature NFC and thus the issue of security is very important.
The next iPhone is expected to be released in the fall and come with new specs including a faster processor, a 12-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash and 2 GB RAM.