Gina Cook

AirDrop Creeps: How to Avoid Getting Cyber-Flashed While in Public

People are using Apple's AirDrop function, which lets iPhone users easily share files, to send unwanted and inappropriate photos to Metro riders.

Multiple women have reportedly received disturbing photos from men via AirDrop while riding Metro trains in recent weeks.

AirDrop lets users choose to accept or reject the file, but a preview of the file pops up on the screen. 

The problem isn't confined to Metro.

Anyone can send a creepy or inappropriate photo to someone whose AirDrop is public. What's worse is that it's untraceable.

"Due to the nature of AirDrop technology, an image can be sent directly from device to device without it passing through a network where the sender can be tracked," Metro said in a statement to News4. "Until mobile phone manufacturers change their operating systems to make AirDropped images traceable, the best way to protect yourself from unsolicited AirDrops is to ensure the feature is either turned off or set to receive material from 'contacts only.'"

Here's the simple fix for preventing unsolicited photos:

  • Go to "Settings"
  • Tap "General"
  • Tap "AirDrop"
  • Then set it so that only your contacts can send you files 

Metro said customers can report should report any inappropriate conduct to Metro Transit Police immediately by texting MyMTPD (696873) or calling 202-962-2121.

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