Apple today released iOS 16.1.1 to all users. While the update's release notes don't say anything about new features or major changes, something big is expected for users in China. There Apple is changing the way “Everyone” option in AirDrop is working, which will no longer be enabled for more than 10 minutes.
AirDrop now has a time limit in China
As 9to5Mac readers noted, today's update adds a time limit when a user decides to enable AirDrop for everyone, not just for contacts. With this change, people in China can no longer keep AirDrop turned on for everyone, including unknown users, for an unlimited amount of time.
The change to how AirDrop works was included in both iOS 16.1.1 and in iOS. 16.2 beta 2 released today to users and developers. Our readers have also noted that this limitation is based on hardware, not software. This means that the update only applies to iPhone models purchased in mainland China.
This is not the first time that Apple has introduced an iOS restriction based on the hardware model. For example, the Taiwanese flag emoji is not available on iPhones sold in China. Apple also uses the same method to limit the volume of its devices in European Union countries, as required by law.
However, when it comes to AirDrop, it's not clear why Apple chose to limit “All” option up to 10 minutes. Some speculate that a Chinese regulator has required Apple to update iOS to stop anonymous users from spreading malicious content and anti-government content.
Update: as some of our readers noted that the changes to AirDrop in China are due to protesters in the country using the feature to distribute posters against Xi Jinping and the Chinese government.
According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to make the new AirDrop option available worldwide in next year.
Whatever the reason, the new take sounds pretty smart. Personally, I would really like to have it on my iPhone. Sometimes I need to share something via AirDrop with a person who is not in my contact list. However, after doing this, I often forget to restrict AirDrop to my contacts. As a result, other people may send inappropriate content to my device.
What do you think about this? Would you like this new option to be available to everyone? Let us know in the comments section below.