Police Departments and News Sites Spreading Misinformation About How iOS 17 NameDrop Feature Works

Apple with iOS 17.1 and watchOS 10.1 introduced a new NameDrop feature that is designed to allow users to place Apple devices near one another to quickly exchange contact information. Sharing contact information is done with explicit user permission, but some news organizations and police departments have been spreading misinformation about how NameDrop functions.

ios 17 namedrop
As noted by The Washington Post, there have been warnings about NameDrop popping up on FaceTime. Police departments in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Ohio, and other states have been suggesting that contact information can be shared "just by bringing your phones close together." From the City of Chester Police Department in Ohio:

IMPORTANT PRIVACY UPDATE: If you have an iPhone and have done the recent iOS 17 update, they have set a new feature called NameDrop defaulted to ON. This feature allows the sharing of your contact info just by bringing your phones close together. To shut this off go to Settings, General, AirDrop, Bringing Devices Together. Change to OFF.

While it's true that NameDrop is turned on by default, the way that it functions is more nuanced than simply putting two iPhones near each other.

NameDrop works when two iPhones running iOS 17.1 or an iPhone with iOS 17.1 and an Apple Watch running watchOS 10.1 are placed right next to each other, as in almost touching. When the two devices come in close contact and both are unlocked, there is a pop up prompting users to share contact information or an image.

Contact information is not shared automatically, and it is a user-initiated process that requires both people exchanging information to accept the transfer. While an accidental exchange could occur, it would require a user to unlock their device and accept the sharing prompt for that to occur.

Multiple police departments posted the warning above, which was widely shared on Facebook and other social networks. The message from the Noble County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, for example, got upwards of 70,000 shares, while the Dewey Police Department in Pennsylvania's warning was shared 11,000 times. After criticism from some commenters, Noble County edited its message to clarify that there's a popup to transfer content, and Dewey County said that it was attempting to "get parents engaged with their children," but many people who saw the original post may not see the updates.

The intent of the post was to get parents engaged with their children and what they are doing on their devices, not the fear mongering as suggested. We suggest everyone do research on new technology and updates to learn more about what is out there, especially for kids

Several local news stories have also shared similar questionable NameDrop information. KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, for example, interviewed several people and included quotes suggesting NameDrop happens automatically.

"That's why I turned it off because I don't have a use for it. I don't even have my phone at work so I don't really have a use for it. But I guess a default on could be a bit controversial just because I think giving out your contact should be a conscious decision and not something that could accidentally happen," Jerry said.

"That is a little bit concerning, I think it should be an optional feature instead of automatically happening," said Liz Jones.

If anything, NameDrop has the potential to be more irritating than dangerous, simply because it's likely to activate when your phone is next to someone else's and unlocked, in a situation like a dinner or meeting. Given the negative feedback, Apple may in a future update turn NameDrop off by default, but those who want to disable it now can do so by opening up the Settings app, going to the General section, tapping AirDrop, and turning off "Bringing Devices Together."

Related Roundups: iOS 17, iPadOS 17
Related Forums: iOS 17, iPadOS 17

Top Rated Comments

mnsportsgeek Avatar
13 weeks ago
Man the number of people on twitter the last 2 days up in arms over this has been absolutely hilarious.

“Why didn’t Apple tell us” - they did. Read your release notes.

“This is a privacy invasion.” - you have to confirm it every time.

I forget what else I’ve read.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Slix Avatar
13 weeks ago
The horror!




(Police and news sites continuing to spread misinformation about tech will never not be annoying. Do better, people.)

Attachment Image
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brian3uk Avatar
13 weeks ago
The cops spreading fake info with no attempt to verify it first? I'm shocked. ;)
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
elbolillo Avatar
13 weeks ago

What *is* a stupid default is that sharing your iCloud contact and photo via iMessage, is turned on since a few iOS's ago... so any random tradesperson, delivery driver, etc that you reply to can get that... that's worse IMHO, tell your friends to disable it. ("Share name and Photo" in Messages settings)
Another incorrect statement on an article about incorrect statements. Oh the irony. There is NO default sharing of your iCloud contact and photo via iMessage. The options are Contacts Only or Always Ask.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
13 weeks ago
Bad news and scary news spread quickly. Corrections and good news spread slowly and are widely ignored.

This fake cat is out of the bag and a lot of people are going to worry about it needlessly.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CapitalIdea Avatar
13 weeks ago
God. These dopey warnings are as bad as the old Reefer Madness nonsense.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...
Apple Sports App Preview Feature

'Apple Sports' App Announced With Personalized Scoreboards and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:16 am PST by
Apple today announced "Apple Sports," a new free app that provides real-time statistics, scores, and more. Apple Sports features a personalized experience with a user's favorite leagues, tournaments, teams shown on an easy-to-read scoreboard. Users can navigate between scores and upcoming games, explore play-by-play information, team statistics, lineup details, and live betting odds, with...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...