updated 03:55 pm EDT, Tue September 15, 2009
Feature requires specific set of actions
Apple has issued a clarification regarding the iPhone 3.1 firmware's anti-phishing capabilities. Released September 9th, the update includes a promised ability to detect phishing and malware sites while using Safari. Early accounts have shown inconsistent performance however, with some phones recognizing hazards, and others missing them completely. The behavior may create the impression that the feature is broken.
Apple instead explains that specific actions are necessary to allow updates to the Safari security database. Users must launch Safari and connect to a Wi-Fi network while charging a phone, and then allow the device to charge with the screen off. An Apple spokesman states that for most users, the process should be automatic.
The need for opening Safari under unusual conditions stems from the company's desire to protect battery life, and avoid imposing carrier data charges. Many users may however be charging phones without a Wi-Fi connection, or have no reason to launch Safari if not traveling. These variables, combined with a lack of guidance, are believed to be responsible for current inconsistencies.