Find out how Apple has quietly limited AirDrop to help China prevent anti-government protests!
Protestors In China Use AirDrop To Organise + Bypass Censors!
China has been rocked by anti-government protests, that started at the in Zhengzhou, but later spread to at least seven cities.
Despite efforts by the CCP government to censor and block efforts to organise demonstrations, Chinese protestors were able to bypass the “Great Firewall” using the Apple AirDrop feature.
AirDrop is a proprietary feature that allows for the wireless transfers of files between Apple mobile devices and computers. It was used to great effect in 2019, when protestors in Hong Kong used it to bypass the China’s “Great Firewall” and organise their demonstrations.
Now, Chinese citizens are using the AirDrop feature of their iPhones to circulate information about planned demonstrations, or memes and messages opposing Chinese President Xi Jinping, or the Chinese government.
Since AirDrop communicates directly between Apple devices, it works even when the authorities shut down mobile communications and Internet connectivity.
How Apple Helps China Limit Protests Using AirDrop!
Unfortunately, Apple quietly introduced an update on November 9, 2022 to severely restrict the AirDrop feature on iPhones sold in China.
In the past, iPhone users in China could set AirDrop to accept files from Everyone without any time limit, allowing them to discreetly send and receive files from strangers.
The iOS 16.1.1 update introduced a 10 minute limit for AirDrop, making it impossible to receive files from strangers.
While it is still possible to receive files from strangers, users will have to repeatedly reset the setting to Everyone for 10 Minutes, which is not practical.
On top of that, the new time restriction on AirDrop affects all iPhones sold in China, regardless of which country your App Store account is based in. So foreigners who purchased their iPhones in China will be similarly affected.
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It is not surprising that Apple would bend the knee to the CCP government. After all, China accounts for almost a fifth of Apple’s total sales!
In 2021, it was even reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook signed a secret $275 billion deal with China in 2016 to “solve” regulatory problems.
The relationship between Apple and the CCP government in China appears to be so strong that when Foxconn employees fled the massive iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, Beijing ordered military veterans and Communist Party members to fill in for the labour shortage!
It will now be up to the Chinese protestors to figure another way to bypass the Great Firewall. Jia you!
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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