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Apple have released the latest updates for their devices, with iOS 16 live since September 12th, 2022.

With features added to aid parents and carers in safeguarding their children, such as improvements to safety features and parental controls, our Online Safety Experts have taken a look at some of these new options and how they could impact those in your care.

In this guide to the iOS 16 updates, we explain the new family safeguarding updates, how they work, and if there are any risks you should be aware of.

Apple iOS 16 logo

A Brief Overview of Apple’s iOS 16 Updates

The new updates include:

  • Productivity apps, such as focus filters that affect mail and messages.
  • Live events tracked in real time such as deliveries, food orders, and exercises/steps.
  • Sharing functions with ‘Family’, including a photo library and safari tabs.
  • Parental controls updates that will allow parents and carers to set limits on screentime and app activity.
  • Further improvements on safety and accessibility features.

You can find more in-depth information on each of these new features included with iOS 16 on Apple’s website.

image of 3 iPhones displaying apples new iOS 16 features

Remember – Strong Passwords are Key

Updates like this one make it easy and convenient to keep all of your personal information in one place – your device. This can include sensitive information (e.g. medications, schedules, contact details, etc.) that should not be accessed by others. Because of this, it has never been more important to use strong passwords to protect your device and the personal information on it.

Knowing how to create and implement strong passwords should be done at the earliest age. Talk to the children in your care about the importance of strong passwords and protecting their personal data. Use our Password 101 – Top Tips for Staying Protected to help you!

Which devices is the iOS 16 update available on?

All Apple smartphones starting from 2017’s iPhone 8 and newer can install iOS 16. The updates for Apple’s iPad range will be released later in the year.

Improvements to Safety Features

Safety Check

The Safety Check Tool has been introduced to help those at risk from violence or harassment by others, such as partners. Users can check on who has access to their information, including other accounts and apps, and manage outer access. For example, users will be able to withdraw all access to messages and accounts that have previously been granted to a partner.

An emergency reset feature will allow users to sign out of iCloud on all devices, reset all permissions, and make sure messages can only be seen on the devices in their control.

If they used this feature, children and young people could potentially withdraw access to their devices from their parents or carers. This could be because they are trying to hide information, or have been forced or groomed into doing so by another person.
‘The Safety Check Tool is simple and easy to use, especially when it comes to stopping your personal information being shared.’
  • Remind the children in your care never to share their information with others online or allow someone else to have access to their devices.
  • Discuss why it’s important to know who has access to your personal devices. You may want to discuss the possible risks associated with personal details and how we can better protect our information, including photographs, online.
iOS 16 new safety check feature on a phone


Apple are joining Google and Microsoft in creating software that will make passwords unnecessary. Instead, users will access their devices with Face ID or Touch ID systems.

These passkeys will be end-to-end encrypted and are designed to more secure than two-factor authentication.

Although these passkeys will alleviate risks associated with keystroke logging, phishing, and hacking, there will always be risks with any form of passwords. For example, a child or young person could be forced into using their Face ID or Touch ID when in the company of an abuser.
  • Make sure the child or young person in your care knows who they can speak to if they’re worried, upset, or feeling pressured into doing something they don’t want to. It’s important that every child and young person knows who their Trusted Adults are. Find out more with our resources.
  • Introduce them to strong passwords and password protection with our Password 101 guide.

Family Sharing

Parents are able to set up preferences on their child’s device, such as an allotted screentime period, location sharing, and access to age-appropriate media. Children are also able to send screentime requests to their parent or guardian, which can then be accepted or declined.

Along with the new Focus filter feature (which allows users to ‘focus’ on specific tasks by filtering incoming content, such as emails and messages), it’s important to remember that putting limitations in place may have the opposite effect.

With limited screentime, children and young people may be more likely to exhibit risky behaviours (such as attempting to access internet or apps on other devices, or using their limited time unwisely).

  • Simply limiting screentime without explanation or discussion is rarely the answer to screen time concerns. To stop any disagreements before they happen, discuss the appropriate screentime limits and boundaries with your child.
  • Make sure there are ‘no screen zones’ and times for your entire household (such as family dinner or bedtime). Use our resources to help the whole family get better screen time routines.

You can stay up to date with all of the latest safeguarding news by signing up to our Safeguarding Hub.

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