Apple devices like iPhone and Mac has a feature called Communication Safety. Sensitive Content Warning is part of Communication Safety aimed to protect your child from viewing nude or pornography related conversations primarily in Messages app. Though enabling the feature will NOT stop your child from viewing the message content, it will automatically detect the photos and warn about the sensitivity. If you wonder how to use, here is how to enable Sensitive Content Warning in iPhone and Mac.
Sensitive Content Warning
Though the feature is primarily for guiding children, it can be used on all devices (not necessarily to have kid account). In addition to Messages app, Sensitive Content Warning will also work on other apps like FaceTime, when sharing files through AirDrop, sharing Contact Posters and photos picker.
Enable Sensitive Content Warning in Mac
There are two ways to check sensitive photos in Mac. Make sure you are using the latest macOS version to use these settings.
Check for Sensitive Photos in Mac
For enabling sensitive photos check in Message app, you can apply the restriction in Screen Time section. This is a typical option for controlling your kid’s account.
- Click the Apple logo and go to “System Settings…” menu.
- Go to “Screen Time” section and click on the “Communication Safety” option under “Communication” section.
- Turn on “Check for Sensitive Photos” option.
- Confirm the action with your Screen Time passcode.
Enable Sensitive Content Warning for Supported Apps in Mac
You can also enable Sensitive Content Warning for individual apps from privacy settings section instead of restricting it from Screen Time. If you have used Screen Time as explained above, then this option will be greyed out and applied to all applicable apps. So, you should disable Screen Time option to use the Sensitive Content Warning feature as explained below.
- Click the Apple logo showing on top left corner of the screen.
- Select “System Settings…” from the menu that appears to open Settings app.
- Navigate to “Privacy & Security” section from left sidebar.
- Scroll down to just above the bottom and click “Sensitive Content Warning” option. This should be disabled by default in Mac (enabled and frozen if you have turned it on in Screen Time).
- On the next screen, turn on the switch against “Sensitive Content Warning” to enable the feature.
- After turning on, you will see the supported apps on your Mac. In my case, it shows “Messages” app under “App & Service Access” section.
- Turn the switch on against each app and allow the apps to use the feature.
- If you want to share data usage with Apple, enable “Improve Sensitive Content Warning” option under “ Analytics & Improvements” heading.
Check for Sensitive Photos in iPhone
Though Communication Safety feature was available from iOS 15, Apple added support for additional apps/services in iOS 17. So, make sure to update your iOS version to use Sensitive Content Warning in all available apps. Similar to Mac, you can enable the feature in two ways – in Screen Time or in privacy setting.
- Open Settings app and tap on “Screen Time” option.
- Scroll down and tap on “Communication Safety” option showing under “Communication” heading.
- Turn on the switch against “Check for Sensitive Photos” option.
- If required, enable “Improve Communication Safety” to share usage data with Apple for improving the feature.
If you are sharing Screen Time across devices and one of your devices are not in iOS 17 or macOS 14, you will see a warning pop-up. It will say, the changes will not be applied to other devices unless they are updated to latest supported OS version. I have a MacBook running on macOS Monterey and an iMac with Sonoma. I receive this warning on iPhone as the MacBook is on incompatible OS.
Enable Sensitive Content Warning for Apps in iPhone
Make sure to disable “Sensitive Photos Check” option in “Screen Time” to use this method.
- Tap on Settings app and go to “Privacy & Security” section.
- Tap on “Sensitive Content Warning” option. As you can see, it is turned on and greyed out as I already enabled it in Screen Time. Otherwise, it will be available for editing and tap on it.
- On the next scree, turn on “Sensitive Content Warning” option.
- You will see list of supported apps/services like AirDrop, Messages and Video Messages. Turn on each app to force using the feature.
- If required, enable “Improve Sensitive Content Warning” option to share your data with Apple for improving the feature.
How Sensitive Content Warning Works?
Here is how it works on Messages app in iPhone.
- When the supported app detects nudity in received images or before you send an image, the image will be blurred with the message showing “This may be sensitive”.
- There will also be a “Show” button on the bottom and a warning sign on top of the image.
- Tap on the warning sign and select “Block Contact” option to block the person who sent the image to you. If you are a minor, tap on the warning sign and select “Ways to Get Help…”. You can send a message to your mom or dad asking permission to view the image.
- If you decided to view the image, tap on “Show” button. The device will show another warning “This could be sensitive. Are you sure you want to view?”. Tap on “I’m sure” to view the picture or select “Ways to Get Help” to get help from your parents.