Apple Explains its Protections for Children



Apple provided an explanation about its expanded protections for children. This comes after information about it has spread across the internet, that may or may not be factual.

Here is some of the information Apple provided:

  • Apple is introducing new child safety features in three areas, developed in collaboration with child safety experts. First, new communication tools will enable parents to play a more informed role in helping their children navigate communication online. The Messages app will use on-device machine learning to warn about sensitive content, while keeping private communications unreadable by Apple.
  • iOS and iPadOS will use new applications of cryptography to help limit the spread of CSAM online, while designing for use privacy. CSAM detection will help Apple provide valuable information to law enforcement on collections of CSAM in iCloud Photos.
  • These features are coming later this year in updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey.
  • The Messages app will at new tools to warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos.
  • The content of the photo will be blurred, and the child will be warned, presented with helpful resources, and reassured it is okay if they do not want to view this photo. As an additional precaution, the child can also be told that, to make sure they are safe, their parents will get a message if they do view it. The child will be warned before the photo is sent, and the parents can receive a message if the child chooses to send it.

John Gruber (on Daring Fireball) has more information about what this does Apple’s child safety initiatives:

The messages feature is specifically only for children in a shared iCloud family account. If you’re an adult, nothing is changing with regard to any photos you send or receive through Messages. And if you’re a parent with child who the feature could apply to, you’ll need to explicitly opt in to enable the feature. It will not turn on automatically when your devices are updated to iOS 15.

John Gruber also wrote: If you don’t use iCloud Photo Library, none of this applies to you. If you do use iCloud Photo Library, this detection is only applied to the images in your photo library the are synced to iCloud.