Wednesday, November 29, 2023

About that iPhone security "flaw"

There's a lot of discussion about the security of Apple's iPhone NameDrop feature. Police departments are recommending turning this off.  It's gone viral, and given Apple a bit of a security/privacy black eye.

It's also overblown.  Key things to know:

1. If your phone is locked (say, at the gym) it will not share contact info via NameDrop.

2. NameDrop only works when the phones are unlocked and the phones are physically in contact with each other.  Just being "close" isn't good enough.  Nobody is going to swipe your data by walking past you.

3. Your phone will ask you if you want to share data.  It won't share automatically.

There's more detail on this here.  Here's how you turn NameDrop off if you want to:

Open Settings, then select General.  Select AirDrop and disable "Bringing Devices Together" and "Use Cellular Data".  You're good to go.

That said, you can share contact info via text message with anyone you want to, so this feature seems pretty useless to me.  I have disabled it on my phone, and I strongly recommend you disable it on any child's phone (or iWatch).


Joseph said...

I didn’t foresee the security issue with it but, as I carry 2 iPhones - one personal, one for work, both signed in using my Apple ID - the “feature” is a pain in the ass. Any time they were near each other, the name drop screen effect would activate, and the phone would ignore anything I was trying to do (i.e. swipe up so I could enter the unlock code) until it finished. I guess I am developing my upcoming old and cantankerous attitude because that got all over my nerves. I found and disabled the feature long before this report came out.

Birdchaser said...

I ain't got that problem, I don't buy overpriced crapple stuff.

Aesop said...

$1M Question:
How hard or easy is it for Apple to turn the feature back "on", with neither notice nor your consent??

Asking for the NSA, FBI, etc. etc.