Air Drop Caution

    Every so often, stories about unwanted and potentially inappropriate files being sent to iPhones, iPads or MacBooks using Air Drop will surface. Here are some specifics about this particular piece of Apple technology.

    • The default settings on iPhones and iPads are only to allow Air Drop requests to and from "Contacts Only".
    • The default settings on MacBooks is to allow requests to and from "No One".
    • Files are transferred via BlueTooth or shared WiFi.
    • The range is about 30 feet.
    • The file requests show up as coming from the name of the device, not the name of the device owner. The name of the device is easy to change.

    Based on the above information, you can see why there usually isn't a problem. Unless the default settings are changed, files being sent to iPhones and iPads have to be from your Contacts (and files can't be sent to MacBooks). You also have to have BlueTooth turned on, or be on the same WiFi as the sender.

    Here are two situations where there could be an issue.

    1. If the default was changed from "Contacts Only" to "Everyone" to receive a file, and was not changed back. (Consider students sharing an assignment document with someone in their class they don't normally interact with or parents/teachers/staff collaborating with co-workers, changing the setting to "Everyone" and forgetting to change it back when done.)

    2. If it is being sent from someone on the Contacts list who changed their device name. (Consider someone on the Contact List changing the device name and sending a file under a different name as a "joke".)

    The quick and easy solution for both cases is just to turn "Receiving Off" until you specifically need it. On the iPhone and iPads, it is under Settings:General:AirDrop. On the MacBook, it is under Go:AirDrop.

    Posted 03-31-22