New iMessage update exposes parents, children to pornography. But Apple has fixes on the way
Posted October 2, 2016
Apple has made an update to its iMessage searchable GIF feature that led parents and children to find pornographic images.
As we previously reported, iMessage exposed children and parents to pornographic images through simple searches in the GIF feature. But now, as The International Business Times reported, Apple has begun blocking those GIFS.
More fixes should be on the way.
"Apple is currently working to remove the X-rated GIFs, and new search results with the same search terms are not returning any results or showing filtered results," according to IBT.
Before the update, Apple warned parents to be careful about letting their children use the new iMessage.
Parents and tech reviewers experienced this issue last week when the new iOS 10 was first released. One woman emailed The Verge and said that her 8-year-old daughter was shown an explicit image while using her mom’s phone to send a text to her dad. She searched the word “huge” in the GIF feature and it brought up a pornographic image.
Deadspin similarly noticed that searching the word “butt” through the GIF search led to parents and families finding a sexual cartoon of “My Little Pony.” The news site filed a request with Apple to make a change to this feature, which took about 10 hours to come to fruition.
(Note: We’ve decided not to link to The Verge or Deadspin because of the mature language used in those articles).
These aren’t the only issues that Apple’s latest tech update has had on iPhone users. The Verge reported that T-Mobile customers lost complete connection to their network when they downloaded the new software.
“These are massively popular phones we're talking about, so it's no small inconvenience for customers,” according to The Verge.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the only fix was to restart your phone.
Apple, though, made a fix to the issue, allowing T-Mobile customers with iPhone devices the chance to download the new iOS. T-Mobile also updated its support page to help those who already have the iOS 10 software and followed Legere's advice.
Despite all of these issues, the new iOS update has some positive features for families to enjoy. The device now includes a new set of stickers, which allows phone users to paste all sorts of fun stickers and backgrounds into the message chat box.
And there are some pretty fun examples. There’s a Mario sticker pack, for example, that shows the superhero plumber in an iMessage chat, according to Kotaku.
These stickers aren’t the only fun feature for families that Apple announced for the iPhone. For example, there will soon be a Super Mario app, along with other Nintendo games, in the app store, which look to capitalize on the success of another major game for the iPhone, Pokemon Go.
The new iMessage app also includes games that iPhone owners can play with each other, like a version of Words with Friends and Two Truths and a Lie. You can also send Apple Music songs through the app and even use Venmo when you want, according to Jason Snell, the former editorial director of Macworld.
“So yeah, if you’re a curmudgeon, you may need to crawl into a bunker and hope that the stickerpocalypse blows over in a few months when we all realize that there are only so many different times you can send a Super Mario sticker before it feels tired,” Snell wrote. “Meanwhile, all the rest of us will be littering our screens with the frivolous and fun. It turns out that people like that stuff.”
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.