Canada slams Apple AirDrop limitations imposed on Chinese iPhone users

AirDrop on iPhone X
(Image credit: Future)

Apple's decision to limit AirDrop use to just ten minutes has drawn criticism from Canada, with a motion by The House of Commons in the country's parliament condemning the move.

Apple has limited AirDrop's ability to receive files from 'Everyone' to just ten minutes before reverting to only accepting them from people who are in the user's contacts. The change was made in China initially, but it's now been rolled out to everyone. But it's the switch in China that is causing the most concern.

Protester problems

When Apple first rolled the change out it was only made in China. At the time it was thought that the change was made to make it more difficult for people to spread anti-government posters to other people. Some were reportedly using AirDrop "to sidestep China’s strict online censorship," sending posters to people who had their iPhones configured to allow AirDrop transfers from anyone, even if they didn't know them.

The same feature change will also come to the rest of the world when iOS 16.2 ships this week, too.

Now, AppleInsider (opens in new tab) notes that Canadians aren't happy about the move, saying that it "will make it more difficult for the protesters to avoid the authoritarian restrictions on communications." The motion goes on to say that  "other tech giants like Google have long collaborated with the Chinese regime in its policies to control online content and communication." As a result, "the House, therefore, condemn the decision by Apple and other tech giants for their complicity in the crackdown against peaceful protesters in China."

China aside, the change could actually be seen as a positive. Reports of AirDrop being used to send unwanted photos to unsuspecting people aren't entirely rare, although many would argue that allowing people to choose for themselves would be the best option.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.