This AI-Powered App Can Hide Porn on Your iPhone

2 minute read
| News

Good news! There’s an app for iOS that helps you hide porn on your iPhone. It’s called Nude—appropriately enough—and it’s powered by machine learning. Since Apple didn’t give us locked albums in the Photos app, like locked Notes, you either have to be comfortable storing nudes in your camera roll, or find a third-party app (via The Verge).

Nude: The Sexiest App Ever

Even if you are comfortable storing nudes in the Photos app, those photos are stored in iCloud Photo Library if you enable it. Although Apple secures your information, that didn’t stop the celebrity nude hack back in 2014. And what if you hand over your iPhone to a friend or family member to look at a picture? We all know that one person who takes the liberty to swipe through our photos.

Screenshot of the Nude app that let's you hide porn. In this photo it's scanning photos.

Scanning for nudes

Two young developers from UC Berkeley—Jessica Chiu and Y.C. Chen—took it upon themselves to create a solution. First promoting the app at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference, they received a lot of interest. “Everyone said, ‘Oh I don’t have nudes, but can you tell me more?'”

Nude in Action

Nude uses Apple’s CoreML technology. Photos on your device are never sent to Nude’s servers. When the app finds a photo that it thinks is porn, it sends you a confirmation dialog. If you choose so, it stores the photo inside of a private vault, stored locally and encrypted. Then, it deletes the photos from your camera roll, and even iCloud. There is a safety feature that takes a picture of people who try to break into the app too.

Nude’s developers trained the algorithms by using open-source nude data sets. But the results weren’t accurate, especially for detecting people of color. Instead, they build a program to scrape websites like PornHub for images.

Screenshot of the Nude app that lets you hide porn. This photo shows false positives.

That’s…not porn

The algorithms aren’t perfect though. I don’t have nudes in my camera roll, but I had the app scan my library anyway. It gave me a list of interesting photos that it thought was porn. This included pictures of mushrooms (which are admittedly phallic), flowers, insects, and even one of Apple’s new iOS 11 wallpapers. The wallpaper in question does look like a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, so it’s not a big leap. Thankfully, if the app missed a picture, you can manually add them.

Nude also says you can store other sensitive photos, like a driver’s license, ID cards, or credit cards. I’m not sure if the algorithm can automatically detect those kinds of things though. Nude is Free, and after a 30-day trial period, it becomes a subscription at US$0.99 per month.

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