The iPhone has a new feature called NameDrop, which rolled out with the latest software update, iOS 17. As a result, many police departments have started urging parents to inspect their kids’ phone settings. The reason lies in the fine print of the iOS 17 update. Upon installation, the NameDrop feature is turned on by default.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and police departments from towns and cities as varied as Carmi, Illinois, Middletown, Ohio, Watertown, Connecticut, Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania, and Fort Smith, Arkansas, are among the agencies expressing their concerns.
What Is Apple iPhone NameDrop?
The NameDrop feature is akin to the already popular AirDrop functionality, where proximity and consent are both required to share information with another Apple device. Apple specifically notes in its user guide that “you can use NameDrop to quickly share contact information with a nearby iPhone or Apple Watch.”
Notably, the sharing of information isn’t completely unhindered; the recipient needs to approve the transfer before it can take place. For those interested in finding out exactly how to use NameDrop, full instructions are available on Apple’s official website.
Is NameDrop Safe or Not in Practice?
In the world of technology and innovation, safety awareness and valid information are key. NameDrop is essentially an intuitive feature designed to ease the sharing of contact details wirelessly. However, the alleged safety risks associated with NameDrop are, according to Chester Wisniewski, a digital security specialist at Sophos, hyperbolic and devoid of substantial grounding.
The NameDrop feature is triggered when two Apple devices come within extraordinarily close proximity to each other, typically a few centimeters, according to Apple, prompting a pop-up asking to save contact information from the other user or share a photo. This is different from the previous AirDrop feature, which was susceptible to abuse, as it required only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and worked within a 30-foot radius. NameDrop, on the contrary, only functions when devices are an inch or two apart, and both devices have to be unlocked along with a user prompt for specific contact information sharing.
While the threat of unsolicited contact sharing always looms, with such short proximity and conscious acceptance required, sharing data with unintended users is notably unlikely. However, should you feel uncomfortable with this feature, it can be easily turned off and deactivated.