Skip to main content

Apple’s nudity-blurring Messages feature gets international release

Apple’s nudity-blurring Messages feature gets international release

/

It’s coming to the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

Share this story

Warning messages shown to a child when sexually explicit imagery is detected.
Warning messages shown to a child when sexually explicit imagery is detected.
Image: Apple

Apple’s “communication safety in Messages” feature, which is designed to automatically blur images containing nudity sent to children using the company’s messaging service, is now rolling out to additional countries. After launching in the US last year, the feature is now coming to the Messages apps on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS for users in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Exact timing is unclear, but The Guardian reports that the feature is coming to the UK “soon.” 

Scanning happens on the device and does not impact the end-to-end encryption of messages. Instructions on how to enable the feature, which is integrated with Apple’s existing Family Sharing system, can be found here.

The opt-in feature scans incoming and outgoing pictures for “sexually explicit” material to protect children. If found, the image is blurred and guidance is provided for finding help alongside reassurances that it’s okay not to view the image and to leave the conversation. “You’re not alone, and can always get help from someone you trust or with trained professionals,” reads the pop-up message. “You can also block this person.”

Messaging an adult about an image is optional

Similar to its initial release in the US, children will have the option of messaging an adult they trust about a flagged photo. When Apple originally announced the feature last August, it suggested that this notification would happen automatically. Critics were quick to point out that the original approach risked outing queer kids to their parents and could otherwise be abused.

Apple is also expanding the rollout of a new feature for Spotlight, Siri, and Safari searches that will point users toward safety resources if they search for topics relating to child sexual abuse. 

Alongside these two child safety features, Apple originally announced a third initiative last August that involved scanning photos for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) before they’re uploaded to a user’s iCloud account. However, this feature drew intense backlash from privacy advocates, who argued it risked introducing a backdoor that would undermine the security of Apple’s users. The company later announced it would delay the rollout of all three features while it addressed concerns. Having released the first two features, Apple has yet to provide an update about when the more controversial CSAM detection feature will become available.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 8:35 PM UTC Not just you

E
Twitter
Emma Roth8:35 PM UTC
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma Roth8:01 PM UTC
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma Roth5:52 PM UTC
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.