Apple revealed a new Safety Check feature for iOS 16, which is aimed at those in abusive relationships. Users may examine and reset who has access to location information, passwords, messages, and other applications on an iPhone using this feature.
The Safety Check feature was unveiled during Apple’s annual WWDC event. In abusive relationships, phones may become surveillance devices, with functions that might be useful in some situations but give abusers harmful information. This is especially true when victims attempt to flee their abusers. This is what experts believe is the most hazardous period for survivors.
Safety Check on iOS comes as a saviour
At the WWDC 2022 event, Katie Skinner, an Apple privacy engineering manager, stated, “Many individuals share passwords and access to their devices with a partner. However, in abusive situations, this can put one’s safety at risk. And make it more difficult for victims to seek help.”
The Safety Check tool also resets your privacy permissions on applications. Moreover, preventing access to your communications, restricting iMessage and FaceTime sessions to your device alone, in addition to turning off location sharing. It also asks you to change your Apple ID password. This will prevent anybody else from accessing your iCloud account and any sensitive data you’ve saved there. It also allows you to go through your emergency contact information.
Domestic abuse specialists say survivors must manage several technological issues as they seek a way out and eventually escape an abusive relationship. However, if an abusive partner has access to a person’s computer surfing history, even glancing at a website for domestic abuse assistance might put them in danger. Cutting off access to personal data shared with an abuser, on the other hand, may cause the abuser to intensify intimidation or violence. Thus survivors must have a safety plan in place before determining whether or not to withdraw access. Finally, GPS information might assist abusers in locating victims after they have fled.
Access that you’ve given to a partner or family member might be revoked via Safety Check. Resetting your Apple ID password will likely disable any tracking software installed without your knowledge by an abusive spouse. Tracking software, often known as stalkerware, is meant to capture location data, texts, and online searches. But it only works on iPhones if the abuser has access to the target’s iCloud password.