Apple iOS 17.1’s NameDrop feature has been in the news lately with police departments in the US advising iPhone users to turn off the ability to easily share contact information with others.
However, those privacy fears are overblown according to experts and anyone who has actually looked into how the feature works.
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NameDrop uses the AirDrop technology technology already offered by Apple with a tweak to make it possible for two iPhone owners to exchange contact information when an unlocked iPhone is placed a few centimetres from the top of another iPhone or Apple Watch.
Once a connection is made, the NameDrop menu will appear on both displays, and users will be given the options to share and receive the contact details.
The privacy fears had centred around the idea anyone could place an iPhone in the close vicinity of another and steal their contact details.
“IMPORTANT PRIVACY UPDATE: If you have an iPhone and have done the recent iOS 17 update, they have set a new feature called NameDrop defaulted to ON. This feature allows the sharing of your contact info just by bringing your phones close together,” wrote a Pennsylvania police department on Facebook earlier this month (via Forbes). “To shut this off go to Settings, General, AirDrop, Bringing Devices Together. Change to OFF.”
However, because the phone needs to be unlocked to begin with, it dramatically reduces the possibility of this happening in a clandestine manner. That’s before you even get onto the fact that the contact sharing must be approved by all parties involved.
Oh, and one more thing, both phones need to be updated to iOS 17.1 in order for the feature to be available in the first place. So the chances of this being dangerous become very slim indeed. There’s no adverse privacy risk surrounding the NameDrop feature and you shouldn’t feel the need to disable it.