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Is iPhone’s NameDrop A Security Risk? It’s Your Call

Published: January 21, 2024 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

There’s been a flurry of concerns over the privacy of a new iPhone iOS 17 feature called NameDrop. A part of the latest iPhone update, this sharing option is an extension of iPhone’s AirDrop. NameDrop is a quick and convenient way to share contacts between two iPhones in close proximity. Many believe it’s a security risk for easy exploitation, but you have to wonder – do the naysayers have it right?

New Kid on The Block

Whether an iPhone iOS 17 or Watch OS 10.1, both devices are NameDrop enabled. Since it’s based on AirDrop, the popular way of transferring files between nearby iPhones and Mac computers, you can think of NameDrop as AirDrop’s newest sibling.

NameDrop, as Apple explains, is a feature allowing two iPhones to share contact information. They stress that only intended recipients receive what you choose to share, and more importantly, don’t receive what you don’t want to share. NameDrop has a confirmation screen for the transaction and you need to choose “Receive Only” or “Share” for the transfer to be final. Nothing, Apple says, is shared automatically.

It Takes Two

Critics of NameDrop are quick to point out this feature enables risky business. Local law enforcement and others shared their concerns to those with iPhones and parents of children with iPhones, with warnings to immediately disable NameDrop. The big risk, critics believe, is a kind of a “walk by” data theft where a stranger near enough to your iPhone can steal your contacts list. Well Sherriff, not so fast…among several NameDrop security features, both users must agree to share the information for it to work.

It's Under Your Control

If you’re among those who aren’t comfortable having NameDrop or don’t need it, the answer is simple: you can disable NameDrop on your iPhone or Watch. Under Settings, tap “General” and choose AirDrop. Under “Bringing Devices Together,” toggle the switch off.

Being confident about your device and its secure options is essential considering all the real risks of online life. Questioning the safety of new features is a good thing as long as you choose smart sources for your answers. Even more important, knowing you can disable a feature for any reason should make you feel better – and safer.

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