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Apple won’t be forced to pull iMessage and FaceTime out of the UK


iMessage and FaceTime
U.K. residents, looks like you get to keep using iMessage and FaceTime.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The U.K. government dropped a plan that would have allowed it to access the contents of any online message looking for illegal content. It had sought a way around the encryption that protects messaging services like iMessage and WhatsApp.

Apple threatened to disable iMessage and FaceTime in the UK rather than submit to the proposal on the grounds that it would completely compromise the privacy of all users. Other companies said the same about their apps.

Why Apple threatened to pull iMessage and FaceTime out of UK


iMessage and FaceTime
iPhone users in the UK might want to talk to the government if they’d like to keep using iMessage and FaceTime.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The U.K. government has proposed an update to the Investigatory Powers Act that Apple and other tech companies strongly oppose because it they argue it would substantially weaken the security of their messaging applications.

The updated act would allow the government to require security features in the apps be disabled immediately and without informing users.

Apple reportedly warned that it’ll disable iMessage and FaceTime in the UK before it’ll comply with the law.

iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite service expands to more countries


Apple launches free Emergency SOS via satellite on all iPhone 14 models
iPhone 14 can now communicate with satellites in more countries.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is expanding iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature to more countries. The feature is now available to iPhone 14 owners in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Ireland starting today.

Emergency SOS was only available in the United States and Canada so far. Apple previously confirmed the feature would expand to more countries in December.

Armed thieves rob London Apple store


Armed thieves rob London Apple store
Apple Covent Garden was robbed by armed men on Sunday afternoon.
Photo: Apple

Armed criminals carried out a daylight robbery of the Apple store in Covent Garden in London’s West End. The thieves reportedly got away with stolen Macs, iPhone and iPads.

Grab-and-run raids on Apple stores aren’t unusual, but it’s very rare for the perpetrators to be armed. No one was injured in Sunday’s U.K. incident, though.

UK lawsuit dredges up 2017’s ‘Batterygate’ controversy


Apple iPhone 6s
A UK lawsuit intends to stop Apple from doing something it already promised five years ago it would never do again.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A UK consumer rights advocate filed a £750m claim accusing Apple of slowing down handsets as old as the iPhone 6. This is over “Batterygate,” a controversy that first erupted way back in 2017 and has long since been settled in the U.S. and other countries.

Even so, a bad decision from five years ago has come back to haunt the company.

UK iPhones will soon scan for nudity in texts sent to children


UK iPhones will soon scan for iPhone sexually explicit images in texts sent to children
The iPhone's Communication Safety in Messages feature is already available in the U.S., and is headed for the U.K.
Image: Apple

Apple will soon begin rolling out in the United Kingdom a tool intended to protect children from sexual predators. The Messages application will be able to detect if a child’s iPhone gets or sends sexually explicit photos.

The feature is already available in the United States.

Proposed UK law makes ‘cyberflashing’ via AirDrop a crime


Proposed UK law makes ‘cyberflashing’ via AirDrop a crime
Cyberflashing could put you behind bars in the UK. That includes using AirDrop to do it.
Image: Cult of Mac/Icons8

Cyberflashing, sharing unsolicited sexual image via social media, could soon be a crime in the U.K. That specifically includes using Apple’s AirDrop to send a nearby stranger a picture of your junk.

Just… don’t do it. For a lot of reasons. Including the fact that you don’t want to spend up to two years in prison.

UK backs Apple’s CSAM plans, offers rewards for new safety measures


UK backs Apple CSAM plan
Home Secretary Priti Patel wants tech firms to step up and be responsible for child safety.
Photo: Number 10 CC

The U.K. government has backed Apple’s plan to scan user photos for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and is offering rewards of up to £85,000 ($117,600) to other technology firms who can develop new tools to keep children safe.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, who this week announced the Safety Tech Challenge Fund, called on “Big Tech” to take responsibility for public safety and find ways to monitor online platforms protected by encryption.

App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges in Europe


App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
Government agencies in the EU and UK are looking into whether the iPhone App Store violates their antitrust laws.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Spotify’s accusation to the European Union that Apple uses its control of the App Store to squeeze out competition reportedly will soon result in antitrust charges being filed against the iPhone-maker. This comes on the same day the UK begins an investigation of the App Store.

The two antitrust agencies could force Apple to lower the commissions it charges software developers. Or even require rival iPhone app stores.

Phone operators in the UK won’t be allowed to sell locked handsets from 2021


Know how to hard-lock your iPhone in a hurry.
Locking phones to one carrier made it tougher for customers to switch.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Mobile phone operators in the United Kingdom will be banned from selling locked handsets from December 2021. This will stop companies from selling phones or other devices that are locked to one network and can only be unlocked for a fee.

Telecoms regular Ofcom first suggested the ban in December 2019, although it has only been made official today. This should make it easier for customers to switch networks if they wish.