Apple has placed time restrictions on AirDrop wireless file-sharing across iPhones in China after the feature was used by protesters to share images opposing the Chinese government, Bloomberg reports.
The “Everyone” option in Airdrop is now limited to a ten-minute window for users in China. After the ten minutes have passed, AirDrop’s device-to-device sharing will switch back to “Contacts Only,” making it harder to distribute content to strangers en masse. These new time restrictions have been introduced by Apple just weeks after the service was used to spread posters opposing president Xi Jinping.
The AirDrop restriction was included in the public release of iOS 16.1.1 on Wednesday, despite nothing about it being mentioned in the release notes. 9to5Mac readers were quick to discover that the restrictions seem limited to iPhones purchased in China.
Apple hasn’t yet addressed why the AirDrop restrictions have only been introduced in China but has confirmed to Bloomberg that the new setting will be made available to global users “in the coming year” as a way to mitigate the receipt of unwanted files.