The secure messaging app Signal has been updated with a new feature which can automatically blur faces. The feature has been added at a time when the response to peaceful protests hasn’t always been peaceful in return …

The feature was spotted by TNW.

Thousands of people are protesting against police brutality and to support the Black Lives Matters cause. If you are a part of the protests, you might post photos of the demonstration around you on social media or send them to your friends — and that’s not entirely safe, because it could help identify people there and put them in danger.

While its important to share these moments, it’s also important to use tools that might stop authorities from snooping on people in those photos. So, privacy-focused messenger Signal has launched a new tool in its app that automatically blurs the faces of people in your photos — and you can use these images anywhere.

The feature uses face-detection to automatically blur faces, but there is also a manual blur tool for any that it misses.

Although the primary purpose of the tool is to send anonymized photos within the chat app, it saves the blurred photos to your Camera Roll, so you can then use the photos elsewhere – on social media, for example.

To use it, enter any chat, tap the camera icon, select a photo and then tap the blur icon.


You’ll then get a Blur Faces toggle, and can also use your finger to manually blur other elements in the photo.

You may also want to remove location and other metadata from a photo before sharing. We outlined how to do this in one of our tutorials:

  1. Open the Photos app on iPhone or iPad
  2. Choose the photo(s) or video(s) you’d like to share
  3. Tap the share button (square with up arrow, bottom left corner on iPhone, top right corner on iPad)
  4. At the top, tap Options
  5. Tap the toggle next to Location to turn it off, tap Done (top right corner)
  6. Choose how you’d like to share and send your photo(s)/video(s)

Beneath the Location toggle is another one for All Photos Data.

Peaceful protestors outside the White House faced gas and rubber bullets earlier this week.

As Donald Trump told the nation he would protect peaceful protesters in a speech at the White House’s Rose Garden on Monday, police officers roughly 100 yards to the north unloaded tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs to disperse peaceful protesters by Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, so the president could walk to St John’s Episcopal Church for a photo opp.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear