Jun 6, 2022 - Technology

Apple launches "Safety Check" feature for users facing domestic violence

Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking at WWDC 2022

Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking at WWDC 2022. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Apple on Monday unveiled its new iPhone operating system, iOS 16, which now includes a "Safety Check" feature that enables users to quickly limit who has access to their personal information.

Why it matters: Many "smart" devices can be double-edged swords that enable domestic abusers to exert further control over their family members.

The big picture: Apple's "Safety Check" feature allows people to quickly disable shared passwords, location and other information, Axios' Ina Fried writes.

  • In a press release Monday, Apple described the new feature as a "privacy tool" that can help "users whose personal safety is at risk from domestic or intimate partner violence by quickly removing all access they’ve granted to others."
  • The feature enables users to quickly sign out of iCloud on all their devices, limit messaging to only the device they have with them, reset privacy permissions, and manage which people and apps have access to their personal information.

What they're saying: "Many people share passwords and access to their devices with a partner," Katie Skinner, a privacy engineering manager at Apple, said at the conference, CNET reported.

  • "However, in abusive relationships, this can threaten personal safety and make it harder for victims to get help," she added.

Go deeper: Everything Apple unveiled at WWDC 2022

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