Apple Caps AirDrop Transfer Window In China To 10 Minutes

Apple yesterday started rolling out iOS 16.1.1 for iPhones, fixing a couple of known security vulnerabilities. But what’s interesting about this update is that the version released to the world is different from the one released in China.

Credit: Reuters

According to Bloomberg (via Engadget), the update caps the window that users can receive files via AirDrop from non-contacts to 10 minutes. Prior to the update, there was no time limit with which users can receive files from strangers.


For those unfamiliar, AirDrop is an exclusive feature of Apple devices that allows users to wirelessly send or receive files without an internet connection. The technology leverages Bluetooth to make a local area connection between two devices that are within 30 feet of each other.


The report adds that only iPhones sold in China are affected by the change so far, regardless of which country the users’ App Store account is set to. iPhones sold outside mainland China, on the other hand, have been spared for now.

Credit: CNET

The change is supposedly meant to stop activists in the country from sharing digital leaflets criticising the Chinese Communist party and President Xi Jinping in populous public spaces. The method was said to have been widely used during the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong to share images of police brutality. And over the last month or so, it was adopted by some Chinese citizens to get around the country's strict online censorship measures.


By setting a limit to the transfer window, the chances of strangers being able to initiate random file transfers with each other are very slim. The AirDrop setting would likely have to be turned on and off every few minutes for this to work.


Apple didn’t say why the change was rolled out in China, but the rumoured plan is to bring it to all users around the world by next year, the reason for which is to "mitigate unwanted file sharing.”

 
  • Apple's latest iPhone update in China caps the window that users can receive files via AirDrop from non-contacts to 10 minutes.

  • The report adds that only iPhones sold in China are affected by the change so far, regardless of which country the users’ App Store account is set to.

  • The change is supposedly meant to stop activists in the country from sharing digital leaflets criticising the Chinese Communist party and President Xi Jinping in populous public spaces.

  • The Cupertino tech giant's plan is to eventually bring the change to all users around the world to "mitigate unwanted file sharing.”

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