Did you recently update your iPhone? Police say you need to check your settings immediately

If you have an iPhone and recently updated it with the latest version of iOS, you need to check your settings immediately, police departments across the United States are warning.

Apple’s new iOS 17.1 update comes with the “NameDrop” feature, which allows users to quickly share contact information with nearby iPhones and Apple Watches.

Police in many Massachusetts communities including Dighton, Revere, Ipswich, and Lexington are now warning users, especially the parents of younger children, that information can accidentally be shared with strangers.

“If you have an iPhone and have done the recent iOS 17 update, they have set a new feature called NameDrop defaulted to ON. This feature allows the sharing of your contact info just by bringing your phones close together,” police in Dighton wrote in a Facebook post. “PARENTS: Don’t forget to change these settings after the update on your children’s phones, iPads, or other Apple devices.”

The Waltham Police Department later issued an updated post, assuring users that the NameDrop feature “does not automatically share all your information with other iPhone users.”

Rockland police added, “We are aware the ‘drop’ has to be approved but when in the wrong hands, could easily be manipulated on a child’s phone. Please be sure to check your kids’ phones.”

Despite the concern from law enforcement agencies, a story from Wired and Forbes suggested that the warnings may not be necessary.

Apple’s ‘NameDrop’ feature sparks security concerns, but are they valid?

What is NameDrop?

With iOS 17.1 and watchOS 10.1, you can use NameDrop to quickly share contact information with a nearby iPhone or Apple Watch. NameDrop is available on Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 7 and later, and Apple Watch SE (2nd generation).

With iOS 17, the default setting is to turn on NameDrop.

How NameDrop works

Do one of the following:

  1. Share from iPhone to iPhone or Apple Watch: Hold the display of your iPhone a few centimeters from the top of the other person’s iPhone or Apple Watch.

  2. Share from Apple Watch to another Apple Watch: Open the “Contacts” app on your Apple Watch, tap your picture in the top-right corner, tap Share, then bring your watch close to the other person’s Apple Watch.

  • Continue holding your devices near each other until “NameDrop” appears on both screens.

  • Choose to share your contact card and receive the other person’s or only to receive the other person’s. To cancel, move the two devices away from each other or lock your iPhone before the NameDrop transfer is complete.

How to turn NameDrop off

  • Go to Settings

  • Tap “General”

  • Tap “AirDrop”

  • Toggle “Bringing Devices Together” to off

Your identity is up for grabs if you don’t keep your devices up to date

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