Home Featured Pay No Attention To The Police–NameDrop is Safe for Kids

Pay No Attention To The Police–NameDrop is Safe for Kids

by ZeeshanN

It’s not uncommon for local police departments and news outlets to raise alarms about perceived risks that turn out to be more imaginary than real. Halloween, in particular, seems to be a season rife with breathless warnings to safeguard your kids from poisoned or drugged candy, despite a lack of evidence supporting such claims. Now, a new player has entered the misinformation stage—NameDrop.

NameDrop, a feature introduced with iOS 17 and later added to newer Apple Watches in iOS 17.1, is an extension of iPhones’ AirDrop functionality. Despite being around for over two months, it appears that many local police departments are just catching wind of it and, unfortunately, spreading misconceptions on social media.

Instances abound where law enforcement agencies issue unnecessary warnings about protecting children from NameDrop, fueled, in part, by a widely-shared TikTok video that misrepresents how the feature works. The video wrongly asserts that merely having your iPhone in close proximity to another is enough to compromise your privacy.

Take, for example, warnings issued by the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Department, the Middletown Division of Police, and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. While some grasp the need for a deliberate choice to share contact info, there’s an overarching sense of confusion and urgency in these messages. The viral TikTok video seems to have sparked a wave of concern without a thorough understanding of the feature.

NameDrop operates by default, initiating a sharing process only when you intentionally bring the top of your iPhone close to another device. A distinctive animation coupled with vibration signifies the connection, after which you’re prompted to decide whether to Share (exchange contact info) or Receive Only. To cancel, you simply move the devices apart or lock one. The crucial detail missed in these warnings is that the sharing process requires deliberate user action, making it impossible for anyone to surreptitiously gather your children’s contact information through this feature.

For those who still wish to disable NameDrop, the process is straightforward. Navigate to Settings > General > AirDrop and locate the “Start Sharing By” header. From there, you can turn off the toggle for Bringing Devices Together.

This saga underscores the importance of comprehensive testing by authorities before disseminating warnings. Instead of verifying the accuracy of the TikTok video claims on their own iPhones, these police departments opted for posting urgent alerts on their Facebook pages. It’s a reminder that Apple, too, should enhance communication around iOS updates, ensuring users understand new features and their functionalities. The current splash screens and pop-ups often go ignored, and perhaps it’s time to explore alternative methods to ensure the vast iPhone user base comprehends critical updates. Happy NameDrop Day!

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