Apple to update privacy features, add ‘edit’ features to iMessage

Apple is updating privacy features and parental controls, and adding edit functions for iMessage as part of its iOS16 launch, the company announced Monday at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. 

Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said the updates to iMessage were “three of the most highly requested features.” With the update users will also be able to recover recently deleted messages.

The company will also be launching a “safety check” feature that will allow users to turn off access to location and data that they’ve chosen to share with others, for example to help people in abusive relationships seek help safely. 

Safety Check allows users to stop sharing their location with the “Find My” function, and resets the system privacy for all apps. It also protects access to a users’ messages by helping them sign out of iCloud on all devices and restrict FaceTime and iMessages to the device in their hand. 

The feature also helps users manage who they have given access to and audit what permission is granted for certain apps. 

Apple will also add new parental controls that the company said aim to make it easier for users to set age-appropriate restrictions for apps. For example, users will be able to approve or deny a request for more screen time within messages, rather than navigating through settings.

Parents will also be able to set up new devices for children with pre-selected and adjusted parental control through a “Quickstart” feature. It will allow parents to transfer already adjusted settings to a new device by turning the device on and bringing it near the iPhone or device with those settings.

The software update will also bring features to iMessage that let users edit their messages, and will let users “unsend” messages and mark threads as “unread.” 

Users will be able to access the features by holding down their message and choosing one of the options. 

Another update is more detailed options for users to design their home lock screens, or to set up multiple lock screen options to swipe between.