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iOS 16.2 limits AirDrop ‘Everyone’ option to everyone

iOS 16.2 release candidate is now available to developers and includes several different changes and updates. The update also expands on a change to AirDrop that was previously limited to China: restricting how the “Everyone” option works with a new limitation.

A new restriction in AirDrop settings

Historically, Apple has three different options for AirDrop. “Receiving Off” completely turns off the ability for someone to AirDrop something to you, while “Contacts Only” means only people saved in your contacts can AirDrop something to you.

There’s also an “Everyone” option that allows anyone nearby to send you a file, photo, or other content via AirDrop. This means that anyone around you, regardless of whether you know them or not, would see your iPhone as a target for AirDrop.

However, last month Apple made a change to this setting, starting with iPhone users in China. On iOS 16.1.1 and iOS 16.2 beta 2 in China, the “Everyone” option could only be enabled for 10 minutes. After that 10-minute period elapsed, the AirDrop settings would change back to “Contacts only.”

Apple received criticism for this change, as protesters in China used AirDrop to spread posters and other content against Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. It is believed that the Chinese government made the change request to Apple, and Apple complied with that request.

At the time, Apple also said that it would extend this restriction for AirDrop globally starting in 2023. However, the company seems to have sped up this schedule. Starting with iOS 16.2 RC today, the new restriction on the “Everyone” option for AirDrop is now in effect worldwide.

What this means is that you can no longer have AirDrop permanently enabled for “Everyone”. Instead, the option can only be enabled for 10 minutes at a time. You will then need to go back to AirDrop settings and check the “Everyone” option again.

Now that iOS 16.2 RC is available to developers, we expect the update to roll out to everyone next week. The update includes a host of new changes and features, including end-to-end encryption updates, Apple Music Sing, and much more.

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