Police warning parents about new iPhone feature

November 27, 2023

Some local police departments in the U.S. have posted warnings to parents on social media regarding a new iPhone features called “NameDrop.”

NameDrop allows users to share their contact information with another iPhone or Apple Watch user by holding the devices very close to each other. The feature was included in Apple’s iOS 17 update.

“This feature allows you to easily share contact information and photos to another iPhone by just holding the phones close together. This feature is defaulted to ‘ON’. To shut this feature off, go to Settings, General, AirDrop, Bringing Devices Together and change to ‘OFF’,” the Middletown Division of Police in Ohio warned on Facebook.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan issued a similar warning: “PARENTS: Don’t forget to change these settings on your child’s phone to help keep them safe.”

Apple notes that after the devices connect, users can choose to share their information or receive someone else’s. Users can also cancel a transfer by locking their phones or moving devices away from each other before the transfer is completed.

Further, NameDrop only works for sending new information, not updating contact info already in one’s iPhone, according to Apple.

But the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office asserted that despite Apple’s refusal features, “many people do not check their settings and realize how their phone works.”

Veteran cybersecurity and tech analyst Davey Winder notes on Forbes’ website, “While there is some truth in the idea that a stalker or other malicious actor could access your contact details using the NameDrop feature, it’s a very tenuous truth. That person would require physical access to your unlocked iPhone to allow the receipt of the contact data.”

He adds, however, that “it’s always worth repeating, if someone has access to an unlocked device, then it’s game over as far as privacy is concerned.”

PHOTO: iPhone warning, per Middletown Division of Police, Ohio

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