iOS 15.2 beta 2 includes new communications security feature in Messages

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Apple is releasing the second beta of iOS 15.2 for developers, and it includes a notable new feature. Apple says iOS 15.2 Beta 2 adds support for the new communications security feature in the Messages app. It’s one of the features that Apple first announced in August, but ultimately delayed after the pushback.

Background

First of all, it’s important to remember that Apple’s original announcement in August included three different features: CSAM detection for iCloud photos, Siri updates, and search to better handle dangerous situations. and communication security in messages.

Today’s version of iOS 15.2 Beta 2 only includes the new communications security feature in Messages. It does not include CSAM detection and does not include Siri and Search Guidance. There’s no timeline for the controversial CSAM detection feature to launch, but Apple says Siri and Search updates will arrive later this year.

What changed

The basics of the communication feature are that the Messages app warns children when receiving or sending pictures that contain nudity, although the feature is not enabled by default. Instead, a parent or guardian can enroll their child for the feature through Family Sharing.

When a child receives a picture in the Messages app that contains nudity, the photo will be blurred. The child will then be alerted and presented with resources that can help him, but he has the option to go ahead and view the picture. Similar protections are also in place when a child tries to send an image that contains nudity.

Compared to the version of this feature announced in August, Apple has made some changes in response to concerns and criticism. Initially, Apple implemented the feature such that parents of children under the age of 13 could be notified if the child looked at a nude picture in Messages.

After announcing the feature, Apple says it heard comments that this notification system could put the child at risk in certain situations. As such, the implementation of the feature in iOS 15.2 beta 2 is aimed at giving the child more control. Apple now says kids of any age now have the option to message someone they trust for help if they want, but that decision is now completely separate from their decision to see. the image.

From a privacy and security perspective, it’s important to note that Messages scans attached images to check if a photo contains nudity. End-to-end encryption of messages is maintained and no indication of nudity leaves the user’s device.

We’re digging into today’s version of iOS 15.2 and will update this story as we learn more.

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