This Hidden iOS 17 Feature Can Block Unsolicited Nudes on Your iPhone

No one asked for them, so don't send them in the first place.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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Zachary McAuliffe
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Apple iOS 17
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Apple released iOS 17.4 on March 5, and the update included a handful of useful new features, like more Stolen Device Protection options and virtual card numbers for your Apple Cash. A hidden feature in iOS 17 called Sensitive Content Warnings is designed to help protect you from harassment, like being sent unsolicited nudes. 

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According to Apple, Sensitive Content Warnings uses on-device machine learning to analyze and block photos and videos sent to you that might contain nudity. With iOS 17.2, these warnings were expanded to include explicit stickers and Contact Posters, too. These warnings are turned off by default, but turning them on is easy. 

Here's how to enable Sensitive Content Warnings on your iPhone.

Turn Sensitive Content Warnings on

1. Open Settings.
2. Tap Privacy & Security.
3. Tap Sensitive Content Warning.
4. Tap the switch next to Sensitive Content Warning.

Once Sensitive Content Warnings are enabled, content that your iPhone thinks contains nudity will appear blurred out. It'll be covered by a message that reads, "This may be sensitive." 

The Sensitive Content Warnings menu on iOS 17

When Sensitive Content Warnings are enabled, the Settings page shows the App & Service Access menu.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

These warnings are applied to content sent via Messages, AirDrop, Contact Posters in the Phone app and FaceTime video messages. When you've enabled these warnings, you can select which apps and services the warnings are applied to under App & Service Access in the Sensitive Content Warning menu.

If you need help or are unsure about what to do when someone sends you sensitive content, you can tap the triangle with an exclamation point in the top-right corner of the blurred content. This will open safety resources, including tips on how to deal with harassment and things to consider before opening a blurred image or sending a nude photo. There are also additional resources for adults as well as children and teenagers. 

If you decide you want to see content marked as potentially sensitive, tap the button in the bottom-right corner of the blurred image that reads "Show." 

Do You Know About These 17 Hidden iOS 17 Features?

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For more information on iOS 17, check out what could be included in iOS 17.5, what was included in iOS 17.4 and our iOS 17 cheat sheet.