Locks, Locksmith

Making Copies of Photographed Keys

a person taking a photograph of their keys

Due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the fear of losing keys has become more and more common among many homeowners around the UK. However, only a number of those people are actually able to accept the situation enough to know exactly what they should do about it, which includes getting themselves a new key as soon as possible.

More people focus on the idea that they can prevent getting themselves into such difficult situations by constantly checking on their keys and always being aware of them, but it is just as important to know your options just in case. In situations like these, it is best to familiarize yourself with the idea that a locksmith can help you out. There will be times when a locksmith might not be able to meet you at your location immediately. Don’t fret, as it is possible to ask for a key copy of a photographed key.

You may be wondering, how can a key be duplicated using only its photo? Can a locksmith actually make a copy of a photographed key?

There are an infinite number of keys in the world, let alone the United Kingdom. Although they come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, their overall function still remains the same—operating locks. To add to that, most regular keys actually have more similarities than you’d think. However, not everyone can distinguish all the details that highlight the differences that make each key unique. Usually, only people who have undergone specialized training are skilled for these kinds of tasks.

In some cases, locksmiths can determine all the information they need about a key through careful examination of its photo. The duplication process starts minutes after they are able to get all the measurements. Professionally, duplicating keys using this method turns out successful in most cases, due to its precision.

This might get you thinking, though, is it normal to take photos of my keys?

We take pictures of a number of different things on a daily basis. However, just like we do with photos in our gallery that contain important information, don’t share photos of your keys on social media. Putting your keys in a place where many people can get them poses the risk of them ending up in the wrong hands. When resorting to this method of key duplication, it is very important to maintain the highest security. This is because you wouldn’t want any burglars or intruders to gain access to and take advantage of these photos.

One way to ensure that your photos are safe is by making use of the advanced technology and special applications that are made for such purposes. Some apps not only store this type of data to keep away from strangers, but also provide locksmiths with the necessary measurements and details to make any key duplication much easier. Just make sure to double-check the application’s privacy, preferably one with two-step authentication for added security.

At this point, you may be thinking, how do locksmiths actually do this?person holding phone showing screen with a key being scanned

It’s actually pretty simple, given the technology we have today. Research has shown that certain software can allow locksmiths to duplicate keys using just a photograph. They can do this with only a few clicks.

Researchers from a University in California have developed software that enables the duplication of keys without a physical key. At a conference on computer and communication security, the researchers demonstrated the process using stock photos from the internet. The researchers produced exact duplicates of the keys after trying it on various types of photos, even those taken far away.

The way the software works is that it takes the 5-digit number that represents all the information on a standard key. Then, they put the said information into a key-cutting machine, making the perfect replica of any key. It does this by analyzing the photo to calculate the dimensions of the key’s grooves, also known as the “bitting”. It often works well with keys made from common brands according to their research.

So yes, locksmiths can actually duplicate keys using just a photo, so make sure you keep your photos safe.

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