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Are you AirDropping your contacts?


Apple has launched the newest update with iOS 17.1. The new feature with the software update is one many didn’t know they needed. NameDrop is only accessible with the newest update and allows iPhone users and Watches to easily share their contact information between other iPhone & Apple Watch users. What are the privacy and security concerns you should be aware of? (5 min read)


Should you be worried about this newest update and feature?


WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR AIRDROP TO BE IN EFFECT?


Any iPhone with the latest update and running of iOS17.1 or later, which means iPhone Xr or more recent, including the second- and third-generation iPhone SE, right up to this year’s iPhone 15 series. If you have an Apple Watch, it needs to be running watch OS 10.1 or later. That means Apple Watch Series 4 or later, will be able to access this new feature.


HOW DOES IT WORK?


Once updated and running of iOS 17.1; two iPhones or Apple watches can be placed near each other, they will then both vibrate and an animation onscreen activates and a message appears on the top of the screen naming the iPhone to which you’re now connected. Your personal contact information will appear on screen, and you can choose to share your phone number or email with the other person.


This feature is ON by default. This can possess privacy and security risks. We recommend shutting off this automatic feature, unless you are comfortable in the risks.


HOW TO SHUT OFF THIS CONTACT SHARING

1. Go to Settings 2. Tap General 3. Then AirDrop 4. Then “Bringing Devices Together” and change it to off





PRIVACY & SECURITY CONCERNS


While this feature is being praised for its simplicity and ease of use. However, some are wary of that ease. There’s concern about how easily contact information can be accidently shared with someone you may not want to share with, and other raise concern over how easily information can be stolen.

The Police Department want parents to remember that this feature is on your children’s phone too.

While this could be an area of concern, it’s key to remember that this feature can be disabled and you have two options when two iPhones are placed together and the option for NameDrop is presented:


  • Option 1: You can either Receive Only, which means that you will only receive the other person's contact information; or


  • Option 2: Share. When you select Share you will send your contact information and receive the other person's contact information.


If you mistakenly NameDrop with someone you don’t want to, you can be selective with what information you choose to share, or opt to receive only.


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