No 'Sexting' on Apple iPhone is good for business

Apple's new anti-"sexting" patent and dislike of adult-oriented apps may make iOS the safest platform for leery businesses

Apple's new anti-"sexting" patent was approved this week and despite the uproar, it may make perfect sense for businesses scared of sexual harassment lawsuits or just wanting to keep a closer eye on employee shenanigans.

While "sexting" isn't mentioned once in the patent, the technology appears to enable users to control the content of text-based messages, so that parents -- or employers -- could exclude or replace "forbidden" content. Presumably the administrator could select verboten words or product names, which would be flagged or replaced when they appear on a user's handset.

This could be helpful, say, when your company is getting ready to release a product that's in a hush-hush beta phase. In essence, you could potentially spy on employees to see if they're spying for someone else.

If the prospect of spying on employees is unappealing, then at least the Apple iOS makes it more difficult for adult-oriented applications to appear on anyone's phone. Apple has been labeled prudish for its exclusion of images of half-naked women but, after all, most companies really don't need that kind of aggravation, especially when they can cause sexual harassment and hostile work environment lawsuits.

While some business owners may dislike the idea of censorship -- in this case it may seem as if citizens are giving over their right to free speech for a cool gadget -- most employees are aware that all actions, digital or otherwise, can reflect upon themselves and their company. And those who don't may get fired for posting inappropriate photos or trashing their workplace on Facebook.

Apple iOS usage has been growing steadily in the business sector. It's not a surprise that Apple's new patent would potentially allow employers to monitor their employees' activities and discourage adult content.

Perhaps Apple's original idea was for "helicopter" parents to watch their child's every move -- and possibly make them think iPhones are the safest smartphones out there for minors -- but the patent also works for business.

Other smartphone platforms -- especially the chief rival Android -- have put few restrictions on content in their apps markets, and have no such controls over sexually-explicit texts. While applications already exist that can filter out adult-oriented content for both the iOS and Android, Apple is making a bold move.

Although the patented technology in action wouldn't stop all office stupidity or adult content -- there's still Apple's video chat FaceTime after all -- at least it could potentially give company owners a little peace of mind. Apple's new patent idea, extended to business, may not be great for every company -- but for those working on sensitive projects, censoring texts may seem good and perhaps necessary.

I would put my money on teens getting around the censorship faster than adult employees, but even if they did, it would at least be an extra hurdle for those determined few.

Reach or follow Barbara E. Hernandez on Twitter: @bhern.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleconsumer electronicsapple iphoneapple ipadCell PhonesPhones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Barbara E. Hernandez

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?