Apple to Fight AirDrop Spam With New iPhone Setting Launching Widely Next Year
As noted by 9to5Mac, iOS 16.1.1 and the iOS 16.2 beta add a new "Everyone for 10 Minutes" option for AirDrop in China, limiting the amount of time that iPhone users can wirelessly receive files from strangers. The setting was reportedly added after protesters in the country used AirDrop to spread anti-government material.
AirDrop normally has three options, including "Receiving Off," "Contacts Only," and "Everyone." When the "Everyone" option is selected, any other iPhone user within close proximity can attempt to send you a file over AirDrop, resulting in a pop-up on the screen with an option to accept or deny the file transfer, with no time limit. In China, Apple has replaced the "Everyone" option with "Everyone for 10 Minutes," which has a 10-minute limit. After this time elapses, AirDrop automatically switches to the "Contacts Only" setting.
Apple told Bloomberg's Mark Gurman that it plans to roll out the new AirDrop setting globally in the coming year in an effort to reduce unwanted file sharing. Since the feature launched in 2011, some iPhone users have received inappropriate photos or been pranked by strangers via AirDrop, especially in crowded areas like shopping malls and airplanes.
It's unclear exactly when the setting will be made available in additional countries, or if Apple will allow users to customize the time limit in the future.
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