Digital Forensics Dispatch

Digital Forensics Blog
by Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Apple to Release Tool to Help Customers in Abusive Relationships

June 21, 2022

Earlier this month there was a flurry of news from Apple. All kinds of interesting updates and advancements were announced at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference, or WWCD.

News about features being added to the very popular Apple Watch, fresh Apple silicon in the form of the M2 chips and updates in the forthcoming iOS 16 like the ability to edit and even un-send text messages were big headlines from the conference. One feature that was announced that didn’t quite get the same exposure but might be bigger news to some of our family law clients is called Safety Check. Check out an article about it that Laura Hautala wrote for here.

According the company’s presentation, Safety Check is a feature in the aforementioned iOS 16 update. Apple reports it developed the feature with input from domestic violence prevention agencies to help a user review, reset and disconnect applications and other people who may have access to data on an iPhone.

Katie Skinner, a privacy expert at Apple, was quoted as saying, “Many people share passwords and access to their devices with a partner… However, in abusive relationships, this can threaten personal safety and make it harder for victims to get help.”

The feature will reportedly walk a user through steps like turning off location sharing, changing privacy settings on apps, restricting iMessage and FaceTime access, and potentially and most importantly resetting the Apple ID password. Resetting this password would help keep a bad actor out of a user’s iCloud and away from any of the information stored/synced there. An insecure iCloud account is one of the most common problems we see when it comes to contested family matters where Apple devices are involved.

This feature isn’t out for the general public yet but should be out with iOS 16 later this year. It will certainly be worth checking out in more detail at that time.

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