Apple’s AirDrop technology is an easy way to quickly share files, web pages, and contact details with other iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. However, most of us have been on the wrong end of spam from strangers, which isn’t always helpful.
Apple is now doing something to combat AirDrop spam with the new iOS 16.1.1 bugfix update that arrived this week. As Bloomberg’s Mark Gorman reports, iPhone users in China are seeing a new AirDrop setting that limits the option to receive files from “everyone” to just ten minutes at a time.
This prevents users of iPhone models purchased in China from keeping the “Everyone” feature turned on indefinitely and should reduce the amount of spam received. The other options remain “Receive” and “Contacts Only”.
The report says Apple could roll out this feature to users globally in future versions of iOS, which will likely be welcome as a way to prevent unwanted spam from arriving via AirDrop. In general, if someone turned on the All setting, it would be to receive a file from someone who is not a contact in a particular circumstance, rather than opening the gates to everyone and variety.
However, while the change may have a positive impact when it comes to curbing spam, the likely motive behind the move in China appears unpalatable. It has been suggested that the change came in response to the use of AirDrop as a way to share material protesting against the Chinese government.
A deputy report last month detailed how people in China received information advising them to “oppose dictatorship, oppose totalitarianism, and oppose authoritarianism.” One of the beneficiaries, who spoke to Vice on condition of anonymity, said this was “the first time I’ve seen or received a medium of any kind critical of the current system. Word of mouth, even from locals, is common, but nothing like that.” Start “.
If Apple made the change in response to AirDrop in response to its use as a political protest tool — either at the request of Chinese authorities, or independently — that would be a concern for free speech advocates. Taiwan flag emojis are already absent from Chinese iPhones, due to countries’ refusal to recognize the island as a sovereign state.