How to prevent creeps from using Apple’s AirDrop to ‘cyber flash’

“Q. A creep on my flight kept trying to AirDrop photos of his anatomy to my laptop. Was there any way to identify the sender remotely?” Robert Pegoraro reports for USA Today. “A. No. The Apple wireless feature that lets you share photos, videos and other files with iOS or Mac users is built for a trusted environment. And while it comes set to accept incoming files only from people in your contacts list, it doesn’t provide tools to deal with abuse if you change that setting.”

“In this case, a friend had reset AirDrop from “Contacts Only” to “Everyone” to ease sending files to and from co-workers,” Pegoraro reports. “She enlisted flight attendants to find the offending cretin, but they had no luck. Unfortunately, she does have company. Knuckle-dragging morons have been attempting ‘cyber flashing’ for years, exploiting the automatic preview AirDrop provides of an image sent from an unknown sender.”

“And since AirDrop works from as far away as 30 feet between Apple devices with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless active—they don’t need to be on the same wireless network—it can be easy for an abusive AirDropper to escape attention on a crowded subway car or airplane cabin,” Pegoraro reports. “A recipient of this kind of garbage can’t block the sender or look up any details about the person beyond the sender’s username.”

How to prevent creeps from using Apple’s AirDrop to ‘cyber flash’ here.

MacDailyNews Take: Have you ever been “cyber flashed” via AirDrop?

Note to parents, make sure your kids’ AirDrop settings are set to “Receiving Off.”

How to share content with AirDrop on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch – March 3, 2017


  1. Not cyber flashing, but in the town I used to live in there was a taxi company that had a way of sending unsolicited BlueTooth messages to anybody who was close by. I don’t know how they did it and can’t remember the details of what appeared on the screen.

    The messages were innocent enough, but they really pissed me off and I made sure that I never used that company.

  2. How to prevent creeps from using Apple’s AirDrop to ‘cyber flash’…

    Ladies, find a picture of the biggest male anatomy you can find and the next time you get Airdrop to cyber flash, never used AirDrop myself, but if you are able to resend to the sender, send that photo with the message, “Mine’s BIGGER!” That should stop ’em!

      1. Yep, that would be a criminal act.

        This does not sound like a major issue – for now, just keep AirDrop turned off or limit it to contacts rather than “everyone.” But I hope that Apple adds in a few features to provide more user control and identification of the source device.

  3. Surely the solution here is for Apple to remove the file previews when AirDrop is set to Everyone, or at least provide an option to turn it off? Can’t understand why you’d even need to see a preview of a file that you would know you’re going to be receiving, the name and file type should be enough…

  4. Hey MDN, I just wanted to mention that the Home Depot ad at the top of this article is remarkably humane and non-intrusive. I clicked it just cause it totally failed to suck.

    (Tired of the annoying and intrusive auto-play video ads — more like this one please!)

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