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AirDrop troll your friends (and avoid getting trolled yourself)

The Verge's Josh Lowensohn has recently been partaking in a time-honored Internet technology tradition—light trolling. His method of choice? AirDrop, Apple's wireless file-sharing technology that allows you to send just about anything to iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

Each day I get on the train to make the half hour voyage into San Francisco for work, I am surrounded by people using their phones. Many have iPhones or iPads, and have a setting turned on that lets me send them unsolicited files through AirDrop. Where Apple envisioned it as a way to send useful files and websites to friends and acquaintances, I use it to send photos of sloths to strangers. And not just any sloths, but sloths wearing spacesuits.

You see, when enabled, Apple's AirDrop service has two different security settings within Control Center: Contacts Only, or Everyone. Select "Contacts Only," and only those iCloud users who have your iCloud account linked in their Contacts app (and vice versa) will be able to send you files. Select "Everyone," however, and your little AirDrop bubble will pop up as an option to anyone in the surrounding area.

All those people getting notifications about space sloths in Josh's general vicinity? They simply made the unwitting mistake of keeping their iOS device tuned to "Everyone."

Before anyone gets panicky about security, I should note that setting your AirDrop preferences to "Everyone" doesn't mean that those files will accept automatically—merely that you can receive a request to be sent a file from anyone with a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

That said, should you want to avoid such a cute interruption to your day—or other troublemakers aiming to send not-so-cute images your way—you need only switch AirDrop to the "Off" or "Contacts Only" position.

Source: The Verge

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

13 Comments
  • I only turn airdrop on when i (rarely) use it because 1)i'm not an idiot 2)Having bluetooth turned on and constantly all wireless services enabled and straining looking for something is a strain on the battery i can live without
  • Yeah, but if everyone was as awesome as you are, you wouldn't be special. That everyone else is an "*****", is what makes you divine. Be glad that they have imperfections.
  • I have mine on all the time and I've never been sent anything on my train rides :0( Canada must be too boring. I have however witnessed this happen while walking around and it was pretty funny.
  • What's your email address then, and I'll send you something cute. :)
  • Please don't anyone show this to Ally. Sent from the iMore App
  • If you airdrop someone that's not in your contacts what shows up as your device's name on their phone? Sent from the iMore App
  • The name of your device, as chosen in Settings > General > About.
  • it's like throw back to 2004 when Nokia phone with bluetooth were mushrooming. That time if you turn your bluetooth on in public, there's a big chance you will get a virus from other phone by requesting you to accept the virus which was Caribe.sis
  • Why do people have to be idiots? Anyway, I never use AirDrop, so it's always turned off on my iDevices. Sent from the iMore App
  • I've always got mine on, but never have been sent anything, I think that's mainly because the people in the Netherlands don't know it exists.
  • There will be cat pictures... cat pictures everywhere!
  • I have it on everyone all the time, but no one ever send me anything. I'd even love to be trolled like this Sent from the iMore App
  • Hilarious. Sent from the iMore App