How to use Communication Safety Messages on iOS 15

How to enable Communication Safety in iOS 15

Apple released the Communication Safety feature with iOS 15.2 beta. This newest feature is designed to help protect children from explicit images, which differs from the anti-CSAM feature that Apple has delayed indefinitely due to backlash from many.

Communication Safety is clubbed with parental controls and can be accessed within Family Sharing. Since the feature is opt-in, it isn’t enabled by default. Read along to understand how to enable Communication Safety in iOS 15.2 beta and what it is!

Note: You can use Communication Safety if you have an iCloud account and Family Sharing enabled for children under 18.

How does Communication Safety Messages help improve child safety?

Communication Safety Messages employ machine learning to analyze image attachment and decide if it is sexually explicit. The entire process takes place on-device, leaving little scope for privacy concerns. In other words, Apple doesn’t get to access attachments or messages.

Further, the feature flags explicit content and empowers parents, and protects children from online sexual predators. Whenever a child receives such content, the Messages app will blur it and help them understand the risks. Apple notifies parents only if the child decides to view the content, not if they receive it.

Although the feature is in beta, Apple will release it for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey users with family account setup on iCloud.

How to enable iOS 15 Communication Safety Messages

After updating to the iOS 15.2 beta, you will get a pop-up explaining the Communication Safety feature. Either tap Not Now to ignore the message or select Continue to enable it.

Next, toggle on Check for Sensitive Photos and enter the passcode. You can also choose to View Child Safety Resources.

That’s it! Now, the feature will send a warning to kids whenever they open or send inappropriate photos.

How to enable:disable iOS 15 Communication Safety Messages
Source: Apple

Apple tries to educate the kids about potential safety issues with appropriate resources. The child can choose to override the warning. However, parents will get a message if the child chooses to ignore it.

Potential privacy issues with iOS 15 Communication Safety Messages

There was an uproar when Apple introduced new child safety features for iOS 15. Typically CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material) scan is performed remotely on files stored in a server. Some argued that this tool would end up as a backdoor to privacy.

However, Communication Safety Messages in its current form analyzes pictures on-device. I don’t see any major red flags.

Communication Safety Messages: Siri and search integration

Apple has added a guidance feature in a bid to educate parents and children. As a parent, you will get access to resources that help you safeguard kids and tackle untoward incidents.

For example, parents can ask Siri how to report CSAM? They will be redirected to resources that will help file a report. On the other hand, Apple will inform users that their interest in the topic could lead to problems. That’s not all! The guidance also offers tools that help deal with the issue.

Communication Safety Messages Siri and Search Integration
Source: Apple

What’s new in iOS 15 iMessage?

iOS 15 heralds with a slew of new features for iMessage. For instance, Shared With You lists media and other content shared by your friends. Content received via iMessage is automatically saved in the Shared With You tab. You can easily access all the content in one place without having to skim through individual conversation threads.

Starting with iOS 15, iMessage will display shared images in the form of stacks. One of the most significant benefits is a sleeker interface that makes it easier to respond to pictures. Big fan of Memoji? On iOS 15, you will get to dress Memoji in more than 40 different outfits depending on your mood.

What are your thoughts on Communication Safety Messages on iOS 15? Let us know in the comments below.

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