Despite what a viral tweet had many people convinced of earlier this week, Apple is not storing your nudes in a special folder.
A viral tweet about the search feature in Apple's Photos app noted that searching "brassiere," as the feature is designed to do, pulled up brassiere-related photos by using face recognition technology first unveiled on iOS in 2016.
Other iPhone users shared examples of their "brassiere" search results in the replies to the original viral tweet, some of which included nude images. Some even expressed fears that the images were being stored somewhere other than the device itself. As the Verge and others have noted, however, the categorized photos are only stored locally. Apple confirmed as much on their website when unveiling the image recognition feature last year.
"One of the best things about Photos is how it protects your privacy," Apple said. "iOS is designed to take advantage of the powerful processor built into every iPhone and iPad. So when you search your photos, for instance, all the face recognition and scene and object detection are done completely on your device. Which means your photos are yours and yours alone."
"Brassiere" and related variants ("bra," "bras," etc.) were among the more than 4,000 searchable keywords users could put to the test at the time of the feature's launch last June. Other searchable keywords/phrases in the Photos app included (and still include) "ten-gallon hats," "apparel," "macadamias," "puffer fish," "egg yolks," and "zucchinis." Words like "boxers," "briefs," "underwear," "penis," "dick," and "cock" are not searchable. The reasoning behind the specific inclusion of "brassiere" and related variants is unknown.
While Apple keeps these categorized photos locally stored on your phone, other non-Apple services take a less Mr. Robot-approved approach.