iPhones come with adult filters that can be enabled to restrict access to and searches for porn-related content, but as it turns out, Apple is going to great lengths with its filters.
Twitter user Charlie Stigler discovered that if you enable the content filters on an iPhone, the device blocks searches for everything that includes the keyword “Asian,” including things like “Asian hairstyles.”
While his test was made on an iPhone 8 running iOS 13.3.1, I can also confirm that the same restriction exists on an iPhone 11 Pro also running the latest iOS version.
“Asians” searches allowed
The worse thing is that the filters appear to also block other searches including keywords that the iPhone thinks might be related to porn, including “teen.” Stigler found that even searching for “teen mental health resources” is blocked if the adult filters are in place.
“iOS built-in adult content filter blocks all searches with the keyword “Asian,” assuming it’s porn-related. Which means a 12 y/o Chinese-American girl might Google “Asian hairstyles” and find out that her culture is blocked as ‘adult content,’” he wrote on Twitter. “Searches like “teen mental health resources” are also blocked, because “teen” is on the blacklist. Which is so dumb for a feature that’s probably being used BY TEENS!”
More surprisingly, however, is that searches for “Asians” are not blocked, despite this keyword also being used by the adult video industry.
If you want to test the whole thing, just enable the adult filters at the following location:
Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Content Restrictions > Web Content
The feature that you need to enable is called “Limited Adult Websites,” after which you should no longer be able to conduct web searches in Safari for anything that Apple believes is related to porn.