Should You Turn Off the “Discoverable by Others” iPhone setting?


The “Discoverable by Others” setting is a feature tied to the new Journal app introduced by Apple in iOS 17.2. This setting uses Bluetooth to detect the number of devices and contacts around each person’s iPhone. The purpose is to provide more personalized journaling suggestions in the Journal app based on the user’s surroundings and interactions.

How does “Discoverable by Others” work?

When enabled, the “Discoverable by Others” setting allows the Journal app to detect nearby iPhone users who also have the setting turned on. It picks up the number of devices you’re near as well as any saved contacts you come within Bluetooth range of. However, it does not save any details of the contacts or people you’re near to your phone, nor does it reveal any of your information to anyone else.

The goal is to inform the Journal app itself of events to prioritize suggestions for. For example, if the app knows you hung out with a bunch of contacts one day, or were surrounded by many iPhones, it will assume whatever you were doing was worth writing about and suggest that as a journal prompt.

Check: iPhone Journaling Discoverable: What Is It and How to Disable It?

Is “Discoverable by Others” a privacy risk?

While the name of the setting sounds concerning from a privacy perspective, Apple has clarified that it does not actually share your personal information or journal entries with anyone. All journal entries are end-to-end encrypted when stored in iCloud, so even Apple cannot read them.

The “Discoverable by Others” feature works similarly to AirDrop – it allows iPhone users to share their Journal with nearby users who also have Bluetooth enabled, but not without approvals first. Your name and location are not broadcast to strangers.

Why is “Discoverable by Others” enabled by default?

Many iPhone users were surprised to find the “Discoverable by Others” setting turned on by default, even if they had not enabled Journaling Suggestions when first opening the Journal app. This led to speculation and concerns about Apple sharing data without consent.

However, Apple has stated the reason it is enabled by default is to give the Journal app’s earliest adopters the benefit of this contextual suggestion feature right away. The company maintains that no private data is being shared through this setting.

How to turn off “Discoverable by Others”

If you are not comfortable with this feature, it is easy to disable “Discoverable by Others” on your iPhone. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy & Security
  3. Tap Journaling Suggestions
  4. Toggle off the switch next to Discoverable by Others

While in this menu, you can also review the other data points used for Journaling Suggestions, such as your location, photos, and contacts. You can disable access to any of these if you do not want the Journal app using that information for prompts.

Read: How to Use New Journal App on iPad in iPadOS 17.2

Final Words

While the “Discoverable by Others” setting raised some initial privacy concerns, Apple has clarified that it does not actually share any identifying personal information or private journal entries. Its purpose is to provide more meaningful journaling suggestions based on your daily interactions and surroundings.

However, if you are not comfortable with this feature, you can easily turn it off in your iPhone settings.

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By Betty
She started her career as a journalist and ended up being a good content writer at Since she has journalism quality, she loves to be in trend by collecting and writing on the latest iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other Apple product related stuff on the website. She has little birds everywhere.
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