Law Enforcement Warns of Privacy Risks with New iPhone NameDrop Feature


Law enforcement agencies across the United States have recently issued warnings regarding a new iPhone feature called NameDrop, raising concerns about potential privacy risks. The warnings come after Apple released its latest iOS 17 software update, which automatically enables the NameDrop feature. 

What is NameDrop and How Does it Work?

NameDrop allows iPhone users to easily and quickly share contact information like phone numbers and email addresses with other nearby iPhone users. It works similarly to Apple’s existing AirDrop feature, but is specifically focused on contact sharing. 

To use NameDrop, two iPhone users simply hold their devices near each other. The phones will then connect via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and a share sheet will pop up displaying the user’s contact information. At this point, each user can choose to only receive the other person’s contact card or mutually share contact details.

According to Apple, users have full control over what contact information gets shared.They can customize their “My Card” in Contacts to only include details they want to share via NameDrop. Users can also select specific contact details to share each time they use the feature. 

Concerns Over Privacy and Security

While NameDrop requires user consent to share contact information, law enforcement agencies have raised concerns that many people may enable the feature without fully understanding how it works.

In particular, there are worries that young children could accidentally share personal contact information with strangers using NameDrop.Several police departments have specifically warned parents to disable the feature on their kids’ iPhones.

There are also general worries that bad actors could exploit NameDrop to access iPhone users’ contact details without consent, especially if devices are left unattended.

Responses to Warnings About NameDrop

However, some experts argue the warnings about NameDrop are exaggerated. According to cybersecurity analyst Davey Winder, a stranger would already need access to an unlocked iPhone screen to abuse the feature, at which point more serious privacy breaches could occur.

Apple has also reiterated NameDrop is designed to give users full control over what information gets shared.The feature requires user action to initiate contact sharing and the process can be canceled at any time by moving the devices apart.

How to Disable NameDrop

If you wish to disable NameDrop, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap “General” 
  3. Tap “AirDrop”
  4. Under “Start Sharing By”, toggle off “Bringing Devices Together”

Disabling NameDrop prevents contact information sharing via the feature. However, existing AirDrop capabilities will still work.

Ongoing Debate Over Privacy and Convenience

The debate around NameDrop highlights the common tension between privacy and convenience when using technology. Features like NameDrop can provide useful functionality to iPhone users, but also introduce potential security and privacy risks.

Ultimately, individual users must decide whether to enable or disable such features based on their own privacy preferences and tolerance for risk. Extra care should be taken when allowing children access to technologies with sharing capabilities.

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By Govind
Being in love with the tech world, Govind joined the technology world in 2015 and started writing about tech stuff (mobile, PC, games, other gadgets). He loves playing games, travelling, photography and sharing the latest news & updates about every Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.).
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