Marquez: ‘NameDropping’ may get you the connection you’re seeking

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How many times have you been at a coffee shop, sporting event or even the grocery store and met someone you would like to exchange information with, only to realize you have no business cards with you? Some will find a scrap piece of paper to share contact information, while others may verbally ask for it and input it into their phone, which can be awkward in loud environments or for those who are not as agile in phone data entry. Even if you did exchange business cards, clerical errors or a misplaced card can devalue it all in an instant.

Apple has released an easy solution to eliminate these issues in its recent iOS 17 with a feature called NameDrop. Essentially, NameDrop allows two iPhone users to exchange one or both party’s contact information electronically by simply bringing the phones together and tapping “Share” or “Receive Only.”

How does it work?

There has recently been quite a bit of negative press about this feature in the news and on social media, even citing various police departments claiming others could maliciously obtain your contact information without your knowledge. While there is always a risk that you could inadvertently send information with anything technology related, the risk here is probably relatively low.

In order for the data to be exchanged between devices, the following must be true.

Ahead of time:

• Updated iOS: Each device being used must be updated to either iOS 17.1 or watch OS 10.1.

Settings enabled: Each device being used must have “Bringing Devices Together” toggled on in the settings. See more information in the “Can I turn it off?” section below.

Contact card created: Each device desiring to share their contact information must have a contact card already created, as this is the information that will be shared with the other device. See more information in the “How do I create a contact card?” section below.

At time of transfer:

• Distance: Apple states that each device (iPhone to iPhone or iPhone to Apple Watch) must be a few centimeters apart from one another, the equivalent of about one inch. While AirDrop, the feature that allows you to wirelessly share files between Apple devices, can function at a maximum distance of about 30 feet between devices, NameDrop requires intentional proximity of the devices.

Unlocked device: Each device must be unlocked during the entire process. Password protecting your device is a key defense to disallow others from using your device for nefarious purposes.

Time: Each device must be held in place until NameDrop appears on both screens. While it only takes a few seconds, the phone will glow when a connection is made (an Apple Watch will buzz).

Authorization options: Once the connection has been made between the devices, each device will be prompted to “Share” their information or “Receive Only.” Tapping the desired authorization option is what begins the transmission to and from the device.

How can I cancel the sending process?

Nothing will be sent until “Share” has been pressed from the unlocked device. Once that has been selected, it can be canceled by either locking the device or moving the devices apart from one another before the transfer completes.

How do I create a contact card?

The contact card must be created prior to attempting to share information via NameDrop as this is the information that will be shared. To create a contact card, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to Settings on your device.

2. Tap Contacts.

3. Scroll to My Info.

4. Select your name in the list of contacts to set your contact information as your default card. NOTE: If you do not see your name in the list of contacts, you will need to first navigate to Contacts on your home screen and create a contact card for yourself, then follow these steps:

Navigate to the Contacts on your home screen and scroll to your contact, then tap Edit. Update your information and tap Save. This will update your contact information and update the card, as well.

Can I turn it off?

With any technology that you do not intend to use, it is generally best to turn it off to prevent inadvertent usage.

To turn off the NameDrop feature, go to Settings then General then AirDrop and turn off the option for “Bringing Devices Together.” Should you want to turn it back on, simply toggle the “Bringing Devices Together” button back on.

Conclusion

Just as with all technology, protecting privacy requires proper safeguards such as passcode protection, which inhibits the ability of others to unlock your device. With appropriate security precautions in place and an understanding of how this feature works, you may quickly find yourself leaving antiquated business cards behind and impressing others by becoming a … NameDropper.•

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Deanna Marquez ([email protected]) is a co-owner of the Indianapolis based legal technology company Modern Information Solutions LLC. Areas of service include traditional IT services, software training and litigation support including trial presentation services. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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