Apple finally stops assuming ‘Asian’ is synonymous with porn

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Apple finally stops assuming 'Asian' is synonymous with porn
Poorly written iPhone software treated ‘Asian’ as though it was always porn. It’s being fixed.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

For much too long, the iPhone’s built-in pornographic content blocker prevented searches just because included the word “Asian.” Apple reportedly fixed the issue in the latest beta of iOS 14.5. But the problem is still in place for everyone not running the pre-release software.

The problem has been around for a while, but made headlines in February. That was apparently enough to get Apple moving. Mashable reports that the most recent iOS 14.5 beta removes the restriction.

However, tests by Cult of Mac seem to indicate the problem might persist in the latest iPadOS 14.5 beta.

ScreenTime trying to block adult websites

The problem is an overreach in ScreenTime’s ability to block adult content. Users can set this on their children’s devices to help keep them away from porn. The filter apparently blocked Google searches including terms that are often used when looking for pornography. That included innocent words like “Asian”  along with “teen,” “amateur” and “mature.”

The problem was highlighted after a gunman in Atlanta murdered eight Asian women. Any device with the Limit Adult Website feature activated couldn’t search “atlanta asian murders,” for example.

A limited workaround

The porn filter is enabled by going to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Content Restrictions > Web Content > Limit Adult Websites.

Those who want to keep this filter but would like their children to be able to search for Asian-related topics have the option to whitelist Google. On the screen listed above is an Always Allow section. Add google.com or another search engine to this and every search will be permitted, but users still won’t be able to go to inappropriate websites.