Earlier this year, Apple debuted what it calls Expanded Protections for Children. It’s a suite of features that are baked into Apple’s software, including iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. The goal is to help protect children from abuse, among other child safety endeavors. With the first iOS 15.2 beta hinted at one of the feature’s return, it looks like that will indeed be happening with the public launch.
Back when Apple seeded the first beta of iOS 15.2 to developers, that prerelease software technically re-added the Communication Safety feature for Messages. However, despite the feature being present, it could not actually be enabled. This suggested that Apple was still in active stages of testing the feature, but that it might not reach the full, public release of iOS 15.2 whenever that happened.
With today’s beta seed, though, it looks like that will be the case. The feature is now enabled, which means it can be switched on and activated for children’s devices.
Communication Safety is the tool that’s present in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. It will be built into the Messages app on those platforms, and it serves to offer up warnings of potentially explicit photos being shared in the app. Both children and the parents will be notified of that potentially harmful material. Those warnings will be issued when a photo is shared to the child or sent from the child’s device.
Here are some of the messages that a child may see in this situations:
- You are not alone and can always get help from a grownup you trust or with trained professionals. You can also block this person.
- You are not alone and can always get help from a grownup you trust or with trained professionals. You can also leave this conversation or block contacts.
- Talk to someone you trust if you feel uncomfortable or need help.
- This photo will not be shared with Apple, and your feedback is helpful if it was incorrectly marked as sensitive.
- Message a Grownup You Trust.
- Hey, I would like to talk with you about a conversation that is bothering me.
- Sensitive photos and videos show the private body parts that you cover with bathing suits.
- It’s not your fault, but sensitive photos can be used to hurt you.
- The person in this may not have given consent to share it. How would they feel knowing other people saw it?
- The person in this might not want it seen-it could have been shared without them knowing. It can also be against the law to share.
- Sharing nudes to anyone under 18 years old can lead to legal consequences.
- If you decide to view this, your parents will get a notification to make sure you’re OK.
- Don’t share anything you don’t want to. Talk to someone you trust if you feel pressured.
- Do you feel OK? You’re not alone and can always talk to someone who’s trained to help here.
The software feature will offer up different prompts depending on the age bracket of the child. There will be different messages for kids under 13 and kids 13 and older. And apparently’s software will not send a notification to parents if a 13-year-old views a photo with nudity in it (but a notification will be sent if the child is under 13 years old).
As it stands, only the Communication Safety feature within Messages is now live, one of the three features debuted earlier this year with the Expanded Protections for Children suite. The more contentious one, Apple’s feature to scan iCloud Photo Libraries for known child sexual abuse material, or CSAM, does not appear ready to go live quite yet.