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Have an iPhone? How to turn off the Namedrop feature to protect your information

Posted at 2:11 PM, Dec 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-07 14:11:56-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A new Apple iPhone feature could potentially put your information at risk. However, a Florida Gulf Coast University professor says there are prevention measures you can take.

The new feature is called "Namedrop." You just put your iPhone close to another and a noise will sound off. Your contact information, along with the other person's, will appear on the phone. Your information from your contact card can potentially be shared, sometimes with you knowing.

"This kind of technique has been existing for a long time," said Chengyi Qu, an assistant software engineering professor at FGCU.

He says it's convenient to make communication easier, but it can go the other way.

"That may be of concern by the public because it may have some risks to exposure," Qu said.

It can expose your information, but potential thieves could be stopped.

"You have to unlock your phone to start up this function," Qu said.

This will only happen, Qu says, if you have a password on your phone. If so, your information will not leave without you knowing. However, if you do not have a password.

"You will be able to exchange your information and expose it to the bad guy," Qu said.

It's a concern police departments across the country have expressed online, targeting parents.

"I think their main concern is probably because some children may lack awareness of security issues," Qu said.

Which is why he's encouraging parents to stay aware of not only this setting, but others on your child's phone.

"For parents, you have to make sure that every single app that your child downloads from online is safely checked," Qu explained.

As for the Namedrop feature, you can simply turn it off by going to your settings, click general and hit Airdrop. Toggle off "bringing device together" to turn it off.

To avoid your information from being taken, Qu says to simply put a password on your phone.

Qu believes Apple will likely take charge of this concern in later updates, though it's not clear what that looks like if it happens.