Learn how to stop your iPhone from communicating and sharing data with other iPhones when you bring both next to each other.
The NFC chip on iPhone XR and later running iOS 17 can be used to trigger handy proximity features that let you exchange contact details, send files, and start a synced media experience. Here are the new features you can use when you hold two iPhones very close:
- NameDrop: Using this, you can send and receive contact details with another nearby iPhone user.
- AirDrop: Simply select the photos or stay on the web page you want to share and then hold your iPhone very close to the other iOS 17 iPhone to send them.
- SharePlay: iOS 17 allows you to start a SharePlay session with nearby family and friend’s iPhone by holding the two devices really close to each other. After this, both can enjoy synced movie, TV show, or music playback.
Security aspects of proximity sharing
The most genuine reason to turn off the new iOS 17 proximity features is you don’t use or care about them, and somehow leaving them active bugs you.
Apart from that, some people may think there could be a privacy or security issue where a stranger in a public place, concert, bus, etc., can steal their contact info by clandestinely bringing the iPhone nearby. But this is far from the truth. No one else can steal your data or force their data onto your iPhone because of the following measures Apple has put in place:
1) Your consent is required: When someone tries to share their contact info with you or get yours via NameDrop, you will have to tap Share on your iPhone to allow the transfer. Similarly, when a person tries to start a SharePlay session with you, a popup appears on your iPhone where you have to tap Open > Join SharePlay. In a nutshell, proximity features won’t work until you decide it works!
Note: AirDrop sharing via NFC doesn’t require the receiver to tap Accept, but it only works when the two security reasons mentioned below are fulfilled.
2) iPhone must be unlocked: Unlike Express Mode, where your iPhone does not need to be unlocked to trigger its NFC when using cards, passes, subway tickets, and keys stored in the Wallet app, for proximity features like NameDrop, SharePlay, and AirDrop, your iPhone must be unlocked for its NFC to communicate with the other iPhone. So, if your phone is locked and in your pocket or bag, no one around you can hold their iPhone near yours to get or send data.
3) Contact details must be saved: For AirDrop proximity sharing to work, the contact details of both persons (the sender and the receiver) must be saved on the respective iPhones. This instantly makes exchanging or getting unsolicited media from strangers out of the equation.
4) Haptic and sound confirmation: When you hold two iPhones close to each other to use proximity sharing, both phones vibrate and play a sound. So you can always know when you’re using them.
5) Takes time: Holding two iPhones nearby doesn’t start NameDrop or AirDrop sharing in a millisecond. You have to hold it steadily for a couple of seconds or so before the sharing process screen pops up.
6) Visual confirmation: When two iPhones are held near, the full-screen sharing or receiving popups appear on both phones. In a few other cases, a Connected banner appears on the top. This ensures that the transfer does not happen unknowingly in the background without you seeing it.
Even after going through the above preventive measures, if you are not convinced and would be better off disabling these features, you have the choice to do so.
Deactivate all iOS 17 proximity sharing features
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap General.
- Tap AirDrop.
- Turn off Bringing Devices Together.
Now you can’t bring your iPhone near another iPhone to send or receive contact, media, or start SharePlay.
However, you can still use all the other methods to share your contacts or start SharePlay. You can also use the regular AirDrop by selecting the available nearby device from the AirDrop Share Sheet.
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