On The New York Times’s Claim That Trump’s iPhone Doesn’t Have a Web Browser

Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, reporting for The New York Times:

Mr. Kelly cannot stop Mr. Trump from binge-watching Fox News, which aides describe as the president’s primary source of information gathering. But Mr. Trump does not have a web browser on his phone, and does not use a laptop, so he was dependent on aides like Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist, to hand-deliver printouts of articles from conservative media outlets.

Now Mr. Kelly has thinned out his package of printouts so much that Mr. Trump plaintively asked a friend recently where The Daily Caller and Breitbart were.

We know that Trump switched from an old Samsung Android phone to an iPhone after taking office, and we can tell from the metadata on his tweets that he’s using the Twitter for iPhone app. That’s led some DF readers to question whether this is even possible, given that you can’t remove Safari by the normal procedure (tapping and holding on the app icon), and the Twitter app has a built-in web browser.

But it is possible. You can remove Safari from the home screen using the Restrictions feature (Settings → General → Restrictions). That still leaves the built-in browser in Twitter, but you can restrict it from reaching any actual websites in the “Allowed Content: Websites” section of the same Restrictions feature. Disable Safari, turn off access to any websites, and you’ve got an iPhone that effectively “doesn’t have a web browser”. And Trump can be locked out of changing these settings by the Restrictions PIN code, which is wholly separate from the device’s main lock screen code. Or, more likely, these restrictions are managed by White House or Secret Service administrators via MDM.

Saturday, 2 September 2017