Consumer Alert: How To Keep Your Info Secure After the New iPhone ‘NameDrop’ Update

November 28, 2023
3 mins read
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Photo by JÉSHOOTS on Pexels

Oftentimes, our iPhones will just update on their own—thanks to auto-updates—and we might not think twice about it. It’s one less thing for us to worry about—plus, we get an up-to-date phone without any work on our part. However, there are some times when that automatic iOS update is inconvenient or introduces a new feature that messes up how we use our phone and we wish we’d never updated to begin with. The most recent iOS 17 update is starting to feel like that for some people—even police departments are issuing warnings about the new iPhone update.

Related: Apple Says Certain iPhones At Risk of Malware Hacks

Police Warn People To Turn off the New iPhone NameDrop Feature

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As The Hill reported on Nov. 26, different police departments across the country are warning people about a new “NameDrop” feature that was introduced in this new iOS 17 update. Basically, the new feature allows people to share photos, contact info and more by just holding two Apple devices close to each other (like two iPhones or an iPhone and an Apple Watch).

“Easily swap numbers with NameDrop, share photos and more by holding the top of your iPhone close to another iPhone,” the NameDrop option states in your iPhone’s settings.

So what’s the warning? Facebook pages for law enforcement, such as the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in Indiana, are posting “privacy” warnings about this new update being a potential safety risk. They note that the default is to have this NameDrop feature switched on, which opens up the potential to share private information by just passing two iPhones close to each other.

They ended their post with a note to parents, writing, “Don’t forget to change these settings after the update on your children’s phones, also, to help keep them safe as well!”

Related: How To Replace Siri With ChatGPT on Your iPhone

However, the Namedrop Feature Isn’t as Malicious as It Sounds

Most departments are sharing the same copypasta warning with seemingly good intent. However, there is more to this new feature than what meets the (Facebook) eye.

While it is true that this new feature allows users to share information and photos with another iPhone by just holding them close to each other, the exchanging of sensitive information is only shared in accordance with your AirDrop settings.

As we’ll share in a moment about how to switch this setting off, the NameDrop feature’s settings are under the AirDrop settings. This means that whatever option you have turned on for AirDrop is who your NameDrop can be shared with as well.

The three options are “Receiving Off,” “Contacts Only” or “Everyone for 10 Minutes.” This means that even if you have NameDrop turned on, your information won’t be snatched from you by just anyone if you have either of the first two settings selected already.

Also, as TikTok user @thatchriscarley—a tip-giving account with over 2.7 million likes—posted on Nov. 26, when two iPhones with the iOS 17 update are in close proximity to each other, the NameDrop feature gives the user the option to send the information, it doesn’t just involuntarily or automatically send this information without your knowledge. “So you’re not gonna have your phone in a locker and someone walks up and just holds it there up to the locker to take your contact info, that is not how that works at all,” he notes.

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Plus, Apple wrote on their support page for NameDrop that if you want to cancel the info sharing, you need to just move one iPhone away from the other or lock your iPhone’s screen before the transfer is completed.

To see how contact sharing with NameDrop looks in action, TikTok user @andrewclaretech has a video showing what the process is like. The top comment notes that for people in professions that need to share contacts frequently, this NameDrop feature can come in handy. But, again, they’d have to change their settings to “Everyone for 10 Minutes” to share their info with strangers. 

How do you turn the NameDrop feature off?

Consumer Alert: How To Keep Your Info Secure After the New iPhone 'NameDrop' Update

Alani Vargas/Parade

So, again, just like you can’t AirDrop photos to everyone and strangers can’t share gross photos that way if you have your settings switched to “Contacts Only,” NameDrop also won’t automatically work for people outside of your circle of contacts if you have a more secure AirDrop setting selected.

But if you’d feel safer with this new feature turned off, go to the Settings app on your iPhone, then choose “General,” and then “AirDrop.” Under “Start Sharing By” toggle the “Bringing Devices Together” off, so it’s no longer green. This successfully turns off NameDrop so you can’t share info or photos with an iPhone or Apple Watch just by putting them near each other. 

Next up, if you’re confused about why your text messages are green on your iPhone, here’s an explanation as to why and how to fix it.

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