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Simple way to disable iPhone feature after police issue safety warning

Simple way to disable iPhone feature after police issue safety warning

This easy trick might give you a bit more peace of mind.

You might have seen police warnings around a new feature in Apple's latest iOS update.

Dubbed 'NameDrop', it lets you share contact details with nearby iPhones or Apple Watches - similar to AirDrop, but with your phone number. All you have to do is hold the two devices near each other and choose to share your details or accept someone else's.

It sounds like a nice new addition, but various police departments in America have spoken out about security concerns.

For example, Watertown Connecticut Police Department posted on Facebook on November 26: "With the new Apple update “NameDrop” is enabled by default.

"With this feature enabled, anyone can place their phone next to yours (or your child’s phone) and automatically receive their contact information to include their picture, phone number, email address and more, with a tap of your unlocked screen."

However, the exchange of information doesn't quite happen automatically - if you want to use NameDrop first you have to put your device near the other person's, tap 'Share' or 'Receive Only', Wired says.

If you don't want to share or receive any information, all you have to do is lock your device as normal or move away - the transaction only works when your devices are centimetres away from each other.

While it's not like someone can nick your details by waving their phone near yours, you could be forgiven for wanting to be extra cautious.

This is what NameDrop looks like.

Luckily, it's possible to turn NameDrop off entirely - even though it's automatically enabled when you update to iOS 17.

"To disable this feature go to General - AirDrop - and shut off 'Bringing Devices Together'," notes Watertown PD.

And as an extra layer of security, the Facebook post says: "While in the AirDrop settings, make sure you have 'contacts only' set so you don’t receive unwanted pictures from strangers."

To really make sure your iPhone is secure, Wired recommends looking into which apps you're sharing your location data with - just to make sure you aren't accidentally sharing your location with anyone you don't want to.

The debate over NameDrop has been raging, with some concerned by the new update - and others not really seeing what the issue is.

NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images
NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

"This is not correct. Firstly the automatic setting is for contacts only. Secondly your phone must be unlocked for it to work and lastly, as usual, you need to approve the transfer," wrote one Facebook user under Watertown PD's post.

While another added: "Done. Thank you for this PSA!

"Approval or NOT, thank you for sharing this information. Always helpful to know more than less!"

Apple has been contacted for comment.

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto/Contributor / Getty / Apple