Apple fixes iOS issue that blocked searches for 'Asian' as adult content

How to use the Smart Search bar in Safari on iPhone and iPad
How to use the Smart Search bar in Safari on iPhone and iPad (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The latest iOS 14.5 beta has fixed an issue with search in the Safari app.
  • Users who had the 'Limit Adult Websites' filter would be warned when searching the word "Asian."
  • That issue has been fixed and does not block those search results anymore.

The latest iOS 14.5 beta is fixing an issue that blocked searches for 'Asian' on the Safari app as adult content.

The issue was originally reported back in February. Users who turned on the 'Limit Adult Websites' filter under the Screen Time settings found that a search that included the word "Asian" would automatically be flagged as adult content and results would be blocked.

According to the report, the 'limit adult websites' setting stops Safari from displaying content or conducting searches for anything that includes the word "Asian" in the title. As the report notes, any such attempt is met with a message stating "the URL was blocked by a content filter." According to The Independent, the feature also works to block searches containing the words "teen", "amateur", and "mature":"> The URL was blocked by a content filter", the error message states. The message does not come up when searching for the words "black", "white", "Arab", "Korean", or "French" – other popular racial categories on pornographic websites – nor "schoolgirl", but is activated when users search for "teen", "amateur", and "mature".

As reported by Mashable, it appears that the latest iOS 14.5 beta fixes the issue and will no longer block search results when the word "Asian" is used. The outlet was able to search for things like "Asian," "Asian Food," and "Stop Asian Hate" without receiving the adult content warning.

According to developer Steven Shen, the issue may have existed as far back as December of 2019.

It's unclear exactly how long the adult content filter issue has been around, but the problem became widely known in February. A number of major tech news outlets covered the adult content filter issue after a tweet from developer Steven Shen brought it to light.In a direct message with Mashable, Shen confirmed that he actually first warned Apple that the iOS adult content filter was blocking searches containing the word "Asian" back on Dec. 7, 2019.

While users who came across the warning could easily click "Allow" to actually view their search results anyway, it is obvious that it was not necessary to begin with so it is good to see that Apple has fixed the issue.

The fix is part of iOS 14.5 which is still in beta, so regular users will still have to wait until iOS 14.5 is publicly available to receive the fix.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.