iOS 17 Is Dropping Some Major AirDrop Updates

Apple AirDrop

Apple is giving its much-used feature AirDrop a major facelift. The changes were announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference ’23, held in early June at Apple Park in California.

AirDrop’s new look will be part of Apple’s software update to iOS 17 and is designed to make the feature, currently used to quickly send photos and small files to another iPhone within range, easier to use.

“It’s going to make AirDrop a much bigger deal,” reports US tech publication TechRadar.

So, what’s in store for AirDrop? Well, one of the biggest changes is the introduction of something Apple’s calling “contact posters”. Essentially, it’ll be the face of your iPhone and everything you share. It’ll consist of a photo you’ve chosen or Memoji you’ve created with text in your chosen font on a background colour you’ve also picked.

When you AirDrop someone, your contact poster will appear. It’ll also show up when you call someone on a compatible iPhone. “Contact posters are going to become an important part of the iOS 17 interface, and we expect Apple will use these in tons of different ways,” writes TechRadar.

Apple Contact Posters
Image: Apple

AirDrop will also let you more easily share with those nearby. Simply bring your phones close together to initiate a transfer AirDrop. You’ll also be able to put two iPhones — or an iPhone and Apple Watch — near each other to share specific phone numbers or email addresses with a feature called NameDrop.

Apple’s also solving the pesky problem of having to stay around the device you’re trying to AirDrop to until the transfer finishes. With iOS 17, you’ll be able to start the share via AirDrop but if you then walk out of range your iPhone will keep sharing over iCloud. Both devices will need to have iCloud accounts set up to do so.

Another new feature called SharePlay will let you easily share music playlists so you and someone else can listen to the same song at the same time — perfect for if you’re going on a jog or having a dance party together.

SharePlay session
Image: Apple

“Apple says you’ll be able to use AirDrop to start a SharePlay session to watch movies, and there are a large number of apps that seem to be supported […],” reports TechRadar. The publication pointed out that Netflix, which has its own shared viewing feature, was notably absent from the WWDC presentation about AirDrop.

Finally, Apple is cracking down on unsolicited AirDrop content with tech in iOS 17 that’ll look for sensitive content and, if detected, blur the image so that you can choose whether you want to be exposed to what it contains. The communication safety feature won’t only work on AirDrop either. It’ll also work on iMessage, contact posters, and FaceTime messages.

iOS 17 is expected to be released in September along with the launch of the predicted iPhone 15.

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