Our ability to connect our accountability and filtering services into deeper parts of the iPhone, including apps, and force Google safe searches no matter where Google is accessed has been very helpful to our members. Now, with our latest update for iOS 15.1 and higher, Covenant Eyes has brought Screen Accountability to the Safari browser!
Our members have asked a lot of great questions about the updated Covenant Eyes sensor app. I thought that I’d address a few of the more common questions that have come through both our blog and our world-class Member Care team.
Question: Am I required to use the built-in Covenant Eyes browser instead of Safari®?
Answer: No! If you are using iOS 15.1 or higher, then Covenant Eyes provides all the features of Screen Accountability in the Safari browser. It’s important to make sure the Safari extension is installed and locked, though.
Question: Can you see my texts?
Answer: No, we cannot see your texts. iMessage activity is not available to us.
Question: Is every app monitored?
Answer: Covenant Eyes takes screenshots within the Safari browser (only on iOS 15.1 and higher—screenshots are not taken in Safari with older versions of iOS) and the Covenant Eyes browser app.
Covenant Eyes cannot take screenshots in other apps, but it does report explicit web domains. A domain name means things like “Instagram.com” or “Facebook.com,” but not the specific addresses (instagram.com/user-profile-john-doe or facebook.com/my-group-name/). Covenant Eyes reports these domains but cannot distinguish between actual websites that are clicked on and background data that is accessed by an app.
Question: Does Covenant Eyes block porn in every app?
Answer: Covenant Eyes cannot filter the content that might be shared within an app. We can’t block nasty language on Snapchat or stop inappropriate direct messaging and pictures on Instagram. And we can’t monitor content in apps that isn’t domain based.
The best way to prevent access to inappropriate content in apps is to remove them from the device and then use Screen Time to prevent apps from being installed. Using the website version instead (e.g. facebook.com, instagram.com, youtube.com) in Safari or the Covenant Eyes browser helps to ensure that explicit websites are blocked and explicit content is reported.
However, Covenant Eyes does block and report explicit web domains. We also have a wonderful handle on Google, no matter where Google is accessed on the device. If a person finds a hidden Google search in an app (and they’re everywhere) and thinks they can get away with an unfiltered search, Covenant Eyes forces a Google safe search every single time.
Question: What is a VPN? Did Covenant Eyes invent this?
Answer: A traditional virtual private network (VPN) is typically used by employees to securely access corporate files from remote locations (i.e., home or hotel). Now, the term VPN is more often used to describe commercial VPNs that are used by everyday people to connect to the internet more securely, thereby hiding their internet activity from their internet service provider or protecting their activity when connected to public hotspots.
Covenant Eyes utilizes the VPN feature on the iPhone to dig deeper into activity on the device. We didn’t invent it. We just found a neat way to use it.
Question: Can I turn off the “forced” YouTube restricted mode? It’s too restrictive.
Answer: Yes, if you use our “Standard Blocking” then YouTube restricted mode is not enforced. If you use “Strong Blocking” then it is enforced.
We’re pleased with our new iPhone coverage and constantly working on ways to make it even better.
We value your feedback and will continue to listen to our valuable members as we work together to create solutions that enable all of us to live porn-free. For more information about how Covenant Eyes works on the iPhone, check out this support article.