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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?