The software that controls Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch includes parental controls that are meant to block kids from buying porn apps. And it works. Sort of. While kids whose parents use the software to protect their iPods can’t purchase any of the App Store’s billions of “babe” apps (App Store porn is largely of the soft-core, pin-up variety), they can still browse it, checking out the app descriptions, reviews and, of course, screen shots. Oops.
Ars Technica spoke with Fraser Speirs, an app developer who also happens to be a teacher — and who had planned to give out iPod touches to all 100 of his school’s students to use as mini-computers.
The problem that Speirs identified is that even though Parental Controls will limit app purchases for restricted apps, it does nothing to restrict browsing restricted apps via iTunes. Just accessing the “Lifestyle” category, for instance, will list dozens of “Amateur Swimsuit” apps, as well as “A Hidden Cam Thong.” iTunes will happily display the product page and screenshots for apps such as “Movie of Sexy Japanese Girl,” “Amateur Sohot Queens,” or “Epic Boobs,” replete with graphic text descriptions and NSFW—or school—screenshots.
The problem also affects the App Store app on the iPhone as well, though it does go one step further than iTunes in keeping the content protected. It will still display a restricted app’s description and icon, but it won’t show any screenshots.
Spiers will still distribute the aptly named devices to his students, but with App Store access blocked. He’s also submitted bug reports to Apple. “I would have liked to allow the students to browse the App Store and personalise their devices a bit,” Speirs told Ars. “Or, at the very least, see new apps and suggest them for deployment.”
We suspect that a few determined kids among those 100 may just find a way around this, and turn this bug into a feature, before Apple ever gets around to fixing it.