Apple Blocks AirDrop in China After Protestors Exploited Filesharing Function

Apple Blocks AirDrop in China: After rumors surfaced a month ago that anti-government demonstrators in China were using the file-sharing capability on iPhones to distribute digital flyers to the general public, Apple restricted the use of this feature in China.

Users in China who have an iPhone may only accept file transfers from those who aren’t in their contacts list for 10 minutes after the upgrade to AirDrop was issued on Thursday. Previously, the functionality did not expire.

As of now, it should be extremely difficult to get data from unknown sources due to the upgrade.

In part motivated by a demonstration in Beijing in which a man hung banners asking for the resignation of the president, Xi Jinping, the revision comes after frequent reports of people using AirDrop to circulate flyers critical of the Chinese Communist party in busy public locations.

Censors in China rapidly removed all mentions of the demonstration from the internet, and hundreds of WeChat users had their accounts suspended for discussing the unprecedented act of defiance.

While Apple did not respond when contacted by AFP, it is widely believed that this new function will soon be available in every Apple product in every country across the world.

While the update did not appear to affect Apple devices sold elsewhere except mainland China on Thursday, all iPhones purchased in China showed the limit regardless of the user’s App Store account’s country of origin.

As stated in the changelog, the “includes bug fixes and security updates”.

The California-based tech giant has previously been criticized for alleged concessions to Beijing, despite highlighting security and privacy protections as key features of its devices.

As Xi prepares to begin his third term as China’s most powerful figure, the West has a distorted view of the country and views it as becoming more authoritarian under his rule.

Apple Blocks AirDrop in China After Protestors Exploited Filesharing Function
Apple Blocks AirDrop in China After Protestors Exploited Filesharing Function

“This is one small sample of a type of China cost … that’s making China much less appealing as an investment and manufacturing destination for many global multinationals many global companies,” Strategy Risks CEO Isaac Stone Fish made a statement.

“Apple has to understand the very real risks of being overly exposed to China in 2022,” Moreover, he said.

Opening a data center in China and deleting a tracking software that Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors used to monitor police activity in 2019 are two further examples of what appears to be compromised.

Because of its position in the crossfire between the United States and China, Apple has also been threatened with a boycott in China. Beijing issued a warning in 2020 that it would mobilize Chinese citizens to boycott Apple if the United States stopped Chinese applications.

On Thursday, several Chinese internet users praised Apple’s latest iPhone update for its ability to reduce spam and other unwanted messages from strangers. It was predicted by one Weibo user that the adjustment “greatly reduces the probability of iPhone users being harassed”.

A small number of people have wondered why the feature is only being made available on Chinese iPhones, with one Weibo commenter poking fun at Apple CEO Tim Cook’s chummy relationship with Beijing: “So is Tim Cook a Party member or not?”

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