Apple's CSAM detection tool, which is part of the child protection policy of the Cupertino giant, is coming to iOS 15 and iPad OS 15 despite warnings from security experts.

Apple CSAM Detection: How to Stop it from Scanning Your iPhone Photos
(Photo : by Ming Yeung/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: The new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro on display during launch day on October 23, 2020 in London, England. Apple's latest 5G smartphones go on sale in the UK today.

The extent of the clamor against the detection feature of Apple even triggered the employees of the tech giant to flood its internal Slack channel as they voiced out their concerns about the upcoming tool.

Apple CSAM Detection Feature: How it Works

In hindsight, the CSAM detection feature, or the child sexual abuse material detection tool, is slated to debut on the upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS later this fall.

The scanning tool enables Apple to scan the uploaded iCloud photos, contrary to earlier reports saying that the CSAM tool could access even the online library of iPhone users.

As per MacRumors, upon detecting any photos containing child abusive content, Apple will start the manual review process, which involves real people. Then, if the photo is confirmed to be child-abusive, the Cupertino giant will report the criminal activity to the police.

CSAM Detection and Security Experts

By the looks of this intention, it is the right thing to do to help protect younger folks out there.

However, some security experts point out the possibility of the feature being abused when it gets to the wrong hands, such as an authoritative government.

What's more, some experts are raising the possibility of the detection tool to be used beyond CSAM. But Apple assured its users that the feature is specifically designed to combat the child abusive content, adding that they will decline any requests beyond its primary use.

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How to Stop CSAM Detection Tool from Photos from Your iPhone or iPad

With all that said, some iPhone and iPad users are now worried about the detection feature that will start rolling out on the next major update of the iOS and iPad OS.

Don't fret, there is an option to stop Apple from scanning your personal photos, according to LifeHacker.

It is now clearer that the CSAM scanning tool only looks into the images that you upload on iCloud.

That said, just to make it crystal clear, the detection system will not scan photos that a user sends via end-to-end encrypted apps, namely Telegram or WhatsApp. Yet again, it is contrary to early warnings saying that it could infiltrate end-to-end encryption, making its function useless.

To stop the detection tool from scanning your photos, here's what you need to do.

  • Open Settings app
  • Select Photos section
  • Toggle iCloud Photos to disable syncing your photos to the cloud
  • Then, click "Download Photos and Videos" to get all of your media from the iCloud library.

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Written by Teejay Boris

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