Skip to Content
© Lehuishi |

Kids are using a handy smartphone feature to cheat on tests

A video uploaded to TikTok has caused a bit of a debate about whether technology can or should be used in the classroom. More specifically, the problem is with a new feature included in iPhone’s latest operating system update.

The feature is called Live Text and extracts words, phrases, or whole sentences from still images. Using it in combination with the iPhone’s camera, you can point it towards any text, select it and copy the words into Notepad.

That seems impressive if you use it for legit purposes. But the video demonstrated that it could also be used for nefarious purposes. In the video, a student is seen using the Live Text feature to copy another student’s notes in front of him to cheat on a test.

Here’s the backstory

The function is not supposed to be used that way and could have severe consequences for anybody who does. Comments on the viral video spanned both sides of the debate, with some calling it ingenious while others criticized its use.

Live Text is bundled into iOS 15, and there is currently no way to disable it completely. The setting can be turned off, but it’s just as easy to activate it again. But there is a way around it, and that is restricting access to the camera.

iPhone app restrictions and Downtime

The best way to stop cheating in school this way is to set up a Downtime schedule. This is where you allow or restrict access to certain apps during a specific period. In this example, you can limit access to the camera during class.

Here’s how to set up Downtime:

  • On an iPhone, open Settings and tap Screen time.
  • In the second section, tap Downtime.
  • Toggle the switch next to Scheduled to the right to enable it. Next, choose whether it should be active every day or only certain days.
  • In the next section, set the time you want Downtime to be active. Choose From and To. For example, begin at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.

Then you’ll need to set up which apps are allowed or restricted during the Downtime. To set that up:

  • Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions in the Screen Time settings.
  • Slide the toggle next to Content & Privacy Restrictions to the right to enable it.
  • The second option from the top will be Allowed apps. Tap on that and toggle the switch next to Camera.
  • There are other apps you can disable during Downtime including Mail, Safari, FaceTime and more.

To lock down the Screen Time settings, tap on Use Screen Time Passcode. Enter a four-digit code that you’ll remember, and your child can’t guess. Once that is set up, the use of the camera (and by default Live Text) will not be allowed during the time you specified.

Keep reading

Update your iPhone! iOS 15.1 brings 3 new features worth using

This new iOS 15 feature has a flaw that could put your data at risk

Tech smarts in 2 minutes a day

Get my Daily Tech Update and the Digital Life Hack. Just one minute each and arm you with the tech knowledge you need to impress your boss and friends with how smart you are.