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This new iPhone feature concerns police departments

Have you downloaded Apple's latest iOS? Read about the new feature numerous police departments are warning about.
Posted at 10:51 AM, Nov 27, 2023

Numerous police departments across the U.S. have issued warnings to iPhone and Apple Watch users after Apple released a software update earlier this month. 

Apple originally touted its new iOS would include a number of new security features, including Lockdown Mode, which automatically blocks iPhones from joining non-secure Wi-Fi networks. It also automatically removes geolocation data from photos when sharing photos with others.

But the feature most concerning law enforcement officials is called NameDrop. The feature allows users to share contact information and photos to another iPhone or Apple Watch by holding the phones close together. 

Apple says that to use NameDrop, you can hold the display of an iPhone or Apple Watch a few centimeters from the top of the other person’s devices. Apple says a glow emerges from both devices to indicate a connection is being made. Once both users accept, a name and photo is shared between users. Both devices have to be unlocked for the feature to work.

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Apple says NameDrop can be canceled by moving the devices away from each other or by locking the phone or watch before the NameDrop is complete. 

Police departments said that this feature is defaulted to "on" when phones are updated. 

To turn off this feature on iPhones, tap Settings, General, AirDrop, and then switch Bringing Devices Together to off.

IOS 17 was released in September, but the newest update came on Nov. 7. The new iOS is available on second-generation and later iPhone SE, iPhone XR and newer.

In response to Scripps News, Apple said, "NameDrop was designed to share contact information with only intended recipients and users can choose the specific contact information they want to share — and just as important, which information they do not want to share."

You can check your phone's availability in the Settings app.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said iOS 17 was released in November.