New Delhi: In a bid to safeguard children, Apple’s Messages feature that scans and automatically blurs photos with explicit content has now been launched worldwide. Also known as “communication safety in messages”, the feature is now being rolled out to New Zealand, Canada the UK and Australia, after it was launched in the US last year. The feature will be available on Messages on iOS, iPadOS and macOS users.
However, this is an opt-in feature. It essentially scans incoming and outgoing images for sexually explicit content to protect kids. It works by automatically scanning and blurring the picture. Guidance is also provided that reads: “You’re not alone, and can always get help from someone you trust or with trained professionals and an option to block the person.
According to the iPhone maker, users can “turn on communication safety” to help protect their child from viewing or sharing photos that contain nudity in the Messages app. Messages detects when a child receives or is attempting to send this type of photo, and blurs the photo before it’s viewed on the child’s device and provides guidance and age-appropriate resources to help them make a safe choice, including contacting someone they trust if they choose.
Apple’s Messages uses on-device machine learning (ML) to analyse image attachments and determine if a photo appears to contain nudity. The feature is designed in a way that Apple also does not get access to the images. The nudity-blurring feature can be activated on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch by going to Settings > Screen Time, on a Mac by choosing Apple menu > System Preferences, then clicking Screen Time.