HomeAsian AmericansApple parental controls block search term “Asian”

Apple parental controls block search term “Asian”

Apple’s parental controls on iPhones and iPads automatically block the word “Asian” from Internet searches, assuming that the word is searched for soley in the context of pornography, The Independent reports. 

Under the content and privacy sections of the device’s screen time settings, selecting the “Limit Adult Websites” option will result in a blank page reading “You cannot browse this page at [search engine] because it is restricted” whenever a phrase such as “Asian food” or “Asian countries” is searched.

This issue was first spotted in December 2019, when iOS developer Steven Shen filed a report with Apple stating that Apple’s filters demonstrated “Incorrect/Unexpected Behavior,” according to The Independent. 

By February 2020, the issue still had not been fixed. At that point, principal product strategist at Workday Charlie Stigler brought the bias in Apple’s filters to light on Twitter, writing, “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.’”

Even after Stigler’s tweet, the faulty controls are still functioning on iPhones and iPads. Shen recently redirected attention to the issue with another Tweet earlier this month, revealing the lack of Apple’s response to his report and asking for “[retweets] for visibility.”

“Apple’s bug tracking is perhaps quite notorious in the Apple developer community,” Shen told The Independent. “Most of the feedback we filed seemingly go into a blackhole. I wish they fixed it sooner.”

Twitter users have also discovered a host of other innocuous words that have been blocked by the filters including “teen,” “hot” and “redhead.” As of the writing of this article, the faulty “adult” filters have not been fixed.

“It’s abhorrent that the word ‘Asian’ makes us think of porn rather than representing an entire group of people,” Kate Isaacs, the founder of #NotYourPorn, a campaign working towards regulation of the porn industry, told The Independent. “The fetishisation of Asian people – particularly young girls and women — is fundamentally sexist and racist.”

“Ethnicities are not kinks,” she continued. “We cannot ignore the porn industry’s responsibility in the fetishisation of young girls and particular ethnicities — they should be held accountable like any other form of media.”

AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story.

Featured Image:


taken from Charlie Stigler’s Twitter account


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Worth the Time

Must Read

Regular Features


Discover more from AsAmNews

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading