Don’t Be Afraid of the iPhone’s NameDrop Feature, Experts Say – The New York Times

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Police departments have issued warnings about a new Apple setting that lets users exchange contact information by bringing their devices together. Tech experts say the fears are overblown.

Police departments from New Jersey to California have been sounding the alarm in recent days about NameDrop, a new feature of the Apple iPhone’s latest operating system that allows users to wirelessly exchange contact information.

Apple declined to comment, but experts say the warnings that “scammers and thieves” could exploit the feature to harvest a user’s personal information appear to be overblown, if not entirely unfounded.

For starters, the devices must be practically touching for NameDrop to work, and both users must agree to share the information.

Mark Bartholomew, a law professor who focuses on cyber law at the University at Buffalo, said that NameDrop had enough stopgaps in place to prevent someone’s information from being stolen.

“To the extent there’s panic here about nonconsensual taking of contact information, I’m not that worried,” he said.

Here’s what you need to know.

How does NameDrop work?

To use the feature, Apple users need to have updated their devices to the latest version of the operating system — iOS 17.1 for the iPhone or watchOS 10.1 for the Apple Watch, both of which have the feature enabled as a default setting.

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