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AirDrop is a feature for iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads that allows Apple users to instantly share content with other Apple users who are within a certain range. It uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to transfer files, such as pictures and videos, to nearby devices. You can also use it to share your location, phone contacts and Safari webpages.
So … Imagine minding your own business when all of the sudden you receive an alert on your iPhone from someone who wants to share a photo with you. You have no idea who sent it or why or how they gained access to your phone.
How could someone who doesn’t have any of your contact information be able to send you pictures? The answer is AirDrop. The wrong people are using this iOS feature to send unsolicited pictures of their private parts to unsuspecting strangers.
In the past, these deviants had to run around in trench coats in order to flash random people. But now they can use technology to digitally expose themselves. Recently, there have been reports of subway riders receiving nude photos via AirDrop from other commuters.
This is obviously not a good thing to have on your phone. But if it’s so dangerous why have it? What was it created for?
It was originally designed for stores and businesses to “push” data to you in the anticipation that you would want to buy their products or services since you were in close proximity. This was great for mall shoppers.
But it fell flat when shoppers understood the major security risks that Apple created for them. So the app was rewritten and repurposed for friends and families to easily share photos and videos.
Suppose you are taking a huge group photo at your family reunion. Instead of texting or emailing the photo to every single family member, everyone can turn on AirDrop and receive the photo within seconds. It’s much quicker and easier than typing everyone’s number or email address into a new message. It’s especially useful if the file is too large to email.
If you have a Mac that is signed in to an Apple ID then you can also use AirDrop to share files with yourself from your phone to your computer.
Retail stores still use it to entice shoppers but the primary use is marketed toward friends and families.
But then again, if you or your children have that app turned on, you make yourself vulnerable to anyone else with that app sending unwanted photos or videos to you without knowledge of who sent them.
How to prevent unwanted pictures
AirDrop can make file sharing more convenient, but it may also leave your device vulnerable to unwanted content. Luckily, it’s easy to turn this setting off or limit who can send you pictures and videos.
AirDrop has three receiving options: Receiving Off means you won’t receive any alerts for requests to share content with you. Contacts Only means that only saved contacts in your phone can send you content. Everyone means that anyone within range can send you a share request. You can accept or decline the request. Unfortunately, most people have their devices unknowingly set to Everyone.
To access these settings on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, swipe up from the bottom of your locked screen to open up your phone’s Control Center. Tap the AirDrop button, it’s on the right side toward the middle of the menu, right below the brightness slider. Select Receiving Off, Contacts Only or Everyone to change your settings.
*TIP: You can always set it to Everyone to receive a group photo and then go back and change it to Receiving Off after you have the photo.
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