Great work from the Apple team to protect online child safety

Apple announces new protections for child safety: iMessage features, iCloud Photo scanning, more

Messages

The first announcement today is a new communication safety feature in the Messages app. Apple explains that when a child who is in an iCloud Family receives or attempts to send sexually explicit photos, the child will see a warning message.

Apple explains that when a child receives a sexually explicit image, the image will be blurred and the Messages app will display a warning saying the image “may be sensitive.” If the child taps “View photo,” they’ll see a pop-up message that informs them why the image is considered sensitive.

The pop-up explains that if the child decides to view the image, their iCloud Family parent will receive a notification “to make sure you’re OK.” The pop-up will also include a quick link to receive additional help.

Additionally, if a child attempts to send an image that is sexually explicit, they will see a similar warning. Apple says the child will be warned before the photo is sent and the parents can receive a message if the child chooses to send it, for kids under the age of 13.

Apple further explains that Messages uses on-device machine learning to analyze image attachments and make the determination if a photo is sexually explicit. iMessage remains end-to-end encrypted and Apple does not gain access to any of the messages. The feature will also be opt-in.

Apple says that this feature is coming “later this year to accounts set up as families in iCloud” in updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey. The feature will be available in the US to start.