Apple releases new NameDrop feature. How does it work and do you need to turn it off?

Apple's latest operating system update included new features to boost user's experience and simplify tasks they do every day. However, some of the new features, like NameDrop, have sparked safety concerns over privacy within Apple users. NameDrop allows users to share their contact information by holding devices together.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said that turning off the new feature was the "most safe" thing to do, especially for users who may be concerned about the safety of the feature.

How does NameDrop work on iPhone?

NameDrop is an enhancement to Apple's AirDrop feature that allows for iPhone and Apple Watches to trade contact information by holding the two devices near each other.

While NameDropping users are given the option to either receive another person's information or share theirs, too. After the initial contact of the two devices, the transfer continues even after stepping away, according to Apple.

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Should I turn off NameDrop?

Maricopa County Police Sgt. Calbert Gillett said the agency's cyber crimes unit is aware of the changes in Apple's iOS system as well as a similar technology used by Android released on Oct. 26 called Near Field Technology, which allows two Android devices to share small amounts of information by holding them close together.

According to Gillett, the Maricopa County Sheriff's office has not had any criminal cases thus far involving NameDrop. However, with every advancement of technology, there are new safety issues like this, he said.

"We see these types of safety issues frequently with updates/additions to everything technology-related," he said. "This new NameDrop feature is not much different. With every advancement and convenience of technology, you become more susceptible and sacrifice other security concerns."

Although the feature is turned on by default it does require some user interaction to accept sharing any information, said Gillett. He advised people concerned for their safety that the "most safe" thing they can do is to turn the NameDrop feature off after updating to iOS 17.

What is the safety and privacy concern?

It is unlikely a stranger will be able to steal your information just by standing next to you as in order for this feature to work, the two devices must be very close together and you have to press "accept" on your device before your information is shared, according to Apple.

The biggest safety and privacy concerns are for potentially vulnerable Apple users who are unaware of this new feature, such as the elderly or children.

You can turn the NameDrop feature off, however, once the iOS 17 update is completed the feature is automatically turned on.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Apple releases new NameDrop feature. Do you need to turn it off?