Apple’s iPhone iOS17 NameDrop feature: What you need to know

Police warning parents to turn new iPhone feature off on kids’ phones

New iPhone feature “NameDrop” is on by default


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A number of local police departments have sent out a privacy warning about Apple’s latest iOS 17 update for iPhones. The update includes a feature that allows for contact information to easily be shared called “NameDrop.”

NameDrop allows you to share your contact information by bringing your phones close together. According to Apple’s website, users would hold their iPhones apart from the top of the other person’s phone and continue holding it until a contact card shows up. Users then can share and receive their contact card or only receive the other’s contact.

CBS News spoke with a cybersecurity expert who says the feature does make it easier to share personal information, including with bad actors.   

“This can include your name, phone number, email address, home address, work address, birthday, a picture of your face, and even more. The more information cyber criminals gain access to, the more harm they can cause you and your finances,” Mike Scheumack, chief innovation officer of identity theft protection company IdentityIQ, told CBS News. 

But, some of the warnings to avoid NameDrop are overblown.   

“Features like Apple’s NameDrop that reveal personal information should be treated cautiously but not necessarily avoided,” Kurt Sanger, cybersecurity expert at Batten Safe and the former deputy general counsel at the federal U.S Cyber Command, told CBS MoneyWatch. “If NameDrop works as advertised, a user will have to make deliberate, intentional selections to share information from device to device.”  

Another cybersecurity expert told CBS News said he doesn’t think NameDrop will pose a security concern because iPhone users have the opporunity to decline to share their own contact cards. 

How to turn off NameDrop on your iPhone

iPhone users can turn the feature off by going into their settings menu, selecting general, then Airdrop. There, the user will see “Bringing Devices Together,” and that is where they can change it to off.

Crowetz added that parents should do the same for their phones to also protect their information.