In the seemingly never-ending quest to protect yourself and your privacy while using technology, you should be aware of a disturbing new trend. The iPhone app AirDrop was created to quickly and easily send photos and other files to those around you using WiFi and Bluetooth technology. Now people are using the app to send inappropriate and explicit pictures to unsuspecting people in their immediate vicinity.
Britta Carlson was one such victim of this type of invasion and received a lewd photo from a stranger while riding on the subway in New York City.
“It never even crossed my mind that someone may use it to send stuff like that,” Carlson told the New York Post.
A similar incident happened to Lorraine Crighton-Smith in London in 2015.
“My name on Airdrop says Lorraine so they knew they were sending it to a woman,” she told BBC. “The images were of a sexual nature and it was distressing.”
You can avoid receiving unwanted photos by changing the settings on your phone, according to AppleInsider. Just follow these steps:
- Pull up the Control Center by swiping up on your phone.
- Tap on the AirDrop icon. From there, you can make the app open to all recipients, contacts only, or turn it off.
- If you’re using iOS 11, you should change your preferences from the Setting menu. Tap General, then AirDrop, and then choose who can send you messages.
The press release says Fairfax County police recommend turning off the feature when you’re not using it to eliminate the possibility that you’ll receive unsolicited and inappropriate photos. If you use the feature frequently and generally trust everyone in your contacts list, then you can switch it to contacts only. If you do receive a disturbing photo, it’s important to save the picture and report it to law enforcement as soon as possible.