When Apple introduced the iPhone’s new operating system—iOS 11—it showed off smarter machine learning algorithms capable of automatically sorting images using object recognition. It said nothing about cleavage.
On Monday, several users on Twitter discovered a new Memories category called “brassiere” (the fancy term for “bra”) that does exactly what the name suggests: sort all your risqué pics into one very NSFW folder.
ATTENTION ALL GIRLS ALL GIRLS!!! Go to your photos and type in the ‘Brassiere’ why are apple saving these and made it a folder!!?!!?😱😱😱😱
— ell (@ellieeewbu) October 30, 2017
The discovery raised privacy concerns, with some users understandably worried that Apple could be saving these images.
no guys wtf this is so scary ???? apple genuinely save photos of you in a bra/strapped top under ‘brassiere’????????? https://t.co/WdHqoLWYMT
— maddie (@maddiesmythx) October 30, 2017
typing brassiere into your photo album search bar and seeing what photos apple have saved in that file freaks me out a bit
— soph ❁ (@Sophiejade98_) October 30, 2017
Fortunately, the algorithms Apple uses run natively on your device, which means none of the photos need to be sent to cloud servers. The computer vision technology was designed so users can quickly see all images that belong to the same category at once. For example, if you type in “dog,” you’ll see all the pictures you have taken since your pet was a puppy instead of having to scroll through your entire gallery. Apple uses 4,432 different category keywords to organize images.
You’ll find the folder filled with nudes and semi-nude pics in the Photos app if you are running iOS 10 or newer. Fader, which first reported the creepy feature, says it did not find any male equivalent topics like “underwear” or “boxers,” but the iPhone does filter “shower,” “sunbathing,” and “bathtub.” We should note, Android devices also filter naughty pics into folders. In fact, its categories are even more upfront. I tested a few terms on a Galaxy Note 8 and noticed it searching for pictures when I used the terms “bra,” “underwear,” and “briefs.”
Many users went on social media to show off what they found in their folder. Results range from swimsuit photos to images that were much less appropriate. Others were just way off the mark.
this came up when I typed in brassiere on my phone pic.twitter.com/DkmkhAanfv
— marisa (@muIhollandrives) October 30, 2017
The best thing to come of this “brassiere” discovery is that folks are now aware of the filtering feature, which means more doggo pics.
— Low (@lowdwi) October 30, 2017
I know we’re all freaking out about the brassiere thing, but can we just pic.twitter.com/zxziL6BHWz
— Maddy the red-nosed reindeer (@maddyquark) October 30, 2017
We have reached out to Apple to learn more about the feature.