Apple Limits AirDrop ‘Everyone’ Option to 10 Minutes in China

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In its latest iOS update, Apple has limited AirDrop sharing for Chinese users to 10 minutes. The change means that indefinitely allowing AirDrops from anybody is no longer possible. 

The feature is one of the few uncensored communication mediums in China, and the news comes as posters opposing the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party’s rule were reportedly widely distributed(Opens in a new window) via AirDrop. Apple has not stated this is the reason for the change, however, but it’s not the first time the company adapted its devices for the Chinese market.

It previously stopped including the Taiwan flag emoji on iPhones sold in mainland China, per a Mashable report.

Regardless of the intention for the switch, starting with iOS 16.1.1, users in China will see that the “Everyone” option has changed to “Everyone for 10 minutes.” 

The tech giant has introduced region-specific restrictions elsewhere. In EU countries, for example, users are unable to exceed the recommended EU Volume Level(Opens in a new window) due to hearing protection standards. 

AirDrop allows users of Apple products such as iPhones and iPads to wirelessly share files with other device owners. Transfers are sent using Bluetooth Low Energy and peer-to-peer Wi-Fi technology

The default setting for AirDrop is “Contacts Only”, and users are required to manually change the setting to receive files from “Everyone.”

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TechCrunch reports(Opens in a new window) that Apple plans to roll out the 10 minutes capability to users globally in 2023. 

Last month, workers at an iPhone factory in Zhengzhou scaled fences to evade a lock-in related to a COVID outbreak at the facility. Reuters report(Opens in a new window) that production of iPhones could slump by as much as 30% at the factory as Apple prepares for Christmas. 

The company is also working on a project to change its “Hey Siri” voice assistant wake phrase to just “Siri”, which would bring it in line with Amazon’s Alexa.

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