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iPhone users warned about mysterious new setting that’s automatically switched on

iPhone users warned about mysterious new setting that’s automatically switched on

Don't worry - there's nothing actually sinister going on here.

One of Apple's top priorities is hitting home the privacy credentials of its iPhone lineup.

From the Safari web browser being able to stop sites from tracking you, to alerts that let you know when apps are collecting slightly more data than you might have realized, there are loads of features that make the iPhone impressively secure.

So, when people recently discovered what they thought was a bit of a loophole in the privacy of their iPhones, they were unsurprisingly concerned, even if the explanation turned out to be pretty prosaic.

Jasmin Merdan / Getty
Jasmin Merdan / Getty

The supposed issue revolved around the Journal app that Apple announced last year and launched with iOS 17.2 in December 2023.

This neat little app makes it super easy to start journaling on your iPhone, recording what you get up to and ensuring that you can properly remember all the events you go to and the sights you see with friends, family or on your own.

It's slickly designed and also has a handy prompt feature that can send you reminders to journal if your iPhone thinks you did something noteworthy, whether that's a long walk or a dinner with friends.

However, one way that it's able to deduce if you have company is by using a 'discoverable by others' feature that passively lets your iPhone detect when it's in close proximity to other iPhones with the setting enabled.

This doesn't transfer any vulnerable or personal data at all but simply lets the phone know you are near to other people.

In fact, not only is no data shared between your phones, Apple itself has no access to anything - part of what makes Journal secure is that all of its suggestions and prompts are calculated entirely on-device, to keep your system completely private.


So, while people were initially a little concerned by the name of a setting like 'discoverable by others', it hasn't taken long for word to spread that it's really not that much to be worried about.

Still, if you want to turn the feature off while you use Journal it's very easy to do so in the app's settings, by going into Settings, then Journal, and tapping on Journaling Suggestions - where you'll find a few similar settings you can disable.

This setting is on by default, even if you haven't been using Journal yourself, since it's aimed at those who are using the app, so if you're at all concerned you can turn it off quickly and easily.

Journal itself is the culmination of years of planning on Apple's behalf, after a long period in which third-party apps like Day One were the only real option.

Featured Image Credit: Anita Kot / NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty