NJ police departments warn parents about new Apple iOS 17 update. Should you worry?

Apple has released a new feature included in the iOS 17 update called NameDrop, and some New Jersey police departments warn that it may come with a safety risk.

Although people are always advised to be alert to who comes near their phones, parents may not need to be alarmed by this update.

What is NameDrop?

According to Apple, NameDrop is a new feature that allows users to share contact information with new people. When two Apple devices, specifically an iPhone or an Apple Watch, are unlocked and centimeters apart, a message will appear asking if users want to share their contact information or receive the other person's information. People can decline by simply locking the iPhone/Apple Watch or moving away from the other phone.

NJ police warn about iOS update safety risk

This week the Wyckoff, Bloomingdale and Oakland police departments, among others, posted on Facebook a warning about NameDrop, telling parents the feature allows the sharing of photos, contacts and more. They advise parents to turn off the feature in settings after their children's iPhone updates. Police departments across the country are issuing similar warnings.

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As with almost everything involving technology, risks are present, but NameDrop comes with safeguards. For the syncing of information to happen, both parties must consent. Also, the phones must be on and extremely close together (centimeters apart) for the pop-up message to appear.

How to turn off NameDrop

Owners have the option to turn off NameDrop entirely if they fear the risk of personal information becoming exposed. They can go to settings, general, AirDrop and Bringing Devices Together and then change it to "off." The screen dot should appear as gray.

Airdrop safety risks

AirDrop is another Apple feature through which parents may fear that their children could be exposed to harmful content. If two iPhones have Bluetooth turned on and are on Wi-Fi, someone can send photos to another person by simply clicking on the name of their Apple device. In 2019, explicit pictures were AirDropped to a student in a Montclair public school.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NameDrop warning issued by NJ police after iOS 17 update