Apple has once again bowed to its Chinese overlords by limiting the ability to allow “Everyone” to AirDrop materials to the iPhone, it is now “Everyone for 10 minutes.” The move was likely made to limit the feature’s use by Chinese protestors who are potentially sharing anti-government materials.
The new limitation on AirDrop is included as part of Apple’s recent iOS 16.1.1 update and is also included in the latest iOS 16.2 developer beta. The limitation is only enabled if an iPhone is owned by someone in China. Instead of allowing “Everyone” to AirDrop documents on an iPhone, “Everyone for 10 minutes” is the option.
Apple made the change quietly and has not commented on it publicly. However, as Bloomberg reports, the change is going to impact protestors.
Protestors have used AirDrop in the past to evade government censorship. While the feature could still be used, every user would have to keep re-enabling AirDrop in order to receive anything, severely limiting its use.
Apple has bowed to Chinese government pressure in the past, allegedly reducing iCloud security for users in the country, and also removing thousands of apps from the App Store in China on two occasions.