If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to see your AirDrop history, the short answer is no.
At the risk of being too blunt, your iPhone does not keep a record of the transactions you conduct using AirDrop.
Apple support has stated that AirDrop does not keep a record of any transactions.
So, even if many people would want to see a log of AirDrop file transfers, Apple does not allow AirDrop to document these in any way.
As such, the best way to track your transfers is to keep AirDrop disabled unless you are about to receive files. This way, you won’t have any unsolicited files sent to your iPhone.
Apple introduced the AirDrop feature to help transfer files quickly when using MacOS and iOS devices.
For AirDrop to work, ensure that both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on for both the sender and the receiver. When using MacOS, it’s possible to use the “Spotlight” feature to look for AirDrop and turn it on.
Vulnerabilities That Come With AirDrop
Apple introduced AirDrop so that users can seamlessly send files, transfer photos, and share other content between iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
AirDrop utilizes both Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to share files between users.
The Bluetooth link identifies the receiver, while the sender connects to a Wi-Fi source that links to the recipient for the transfer to occur.
It’s vital to note that AirDrop does not require internet or an active Wi-Fi connection. It is, therefore, a convenient method to send files to any nearby device (other than Android devices, of course).
AirDrop can quickly send large file sizes depending on the capacity of the receiver’s Apple device.
However, due to its reliance on Bluetooth, the distance between the two devices affects the transfer speed.
AirDrop can easily transfer files within a distance of 10m or 30 feet. Distances greater than that can make the transfer fail!
Researchers have found that nearby devices can attain your ID each time you share files.
Experts from the Computer Science Department at the Darmstadt University in Germany have asserted that nearby devices can also attain your email address and phone number.
In other words, using AirDrop certainly comes with some risks!
Other nearby devices can access your personal information even when they’re unknown to your phone.
It goes without saying that it’s dangerous for strangers to learn your email address or phone number as this can easily lead you to becoming a victim of scams or cyberstalking.
In more severe cases, you can fall victim to hackers and identity theft!
To prevent this invasion of privacy, the only thing you can do is to turn AirDrop off when it’s not in use.
Also, when sharing files, avoid using the ‘Connect to Everyone’ option. Instead, choose the option that allows only known contacts to join.
This way, only known devices are able to establish the connection necessary for AirDrop to function, thereby limiting intruders’ access to your personal information!
Does AirDrop Create A Lack Of Security?
AirDrop has three (3) options for sending files that you can choose from in the Control Center:
- Receiving Off: AirDrop transfer is turned off completely;
- Contacts Only: You can share files with people from your Contact list; and
- Everyone: You can share with anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
The security concerns arise the moment AirDrop is turned on.
Once enabled, the best thing to do in terms of security is to immediately set your AirDrop to “Contacts Only”.
When a receiver sets their AirDrop to Contacts Only, their device analyzes device information to assess whether another person is in their Contacts list.
Apple has an authentication process that compares the receiver’s and sender’s details to ensure they are known contacts.
Apple protects your personal information through a hashing function that encrypts this information.
However, people who are tech-savvy enough can still easily steal your personal data.
All a stranger with the required technological experience has to do is reverse the hashing function.
For example, they can use specific hacking techniques such as brute force attacks to uncover your email and other relevant contact information.
This flaw occurs on all devices that use AirDrop, including iPads and Macs.
Thus, for a skilled stranger to get access to someone’s phone via AirDrop, they simply need to turn on their Wi-Fi connection on their device and move closer to the target! They can then initiate the hacking process.
It’s important to note that this is a very serious issue.
Today, many malicious individuals attempt to exploit this opening. As such, they often visit crowded places (like shopping malls) and wait for someone nearby to use the AirDrop feature.
Once they hone in on a target, they use the necessary techniques to obtain email and contact information.
This is one of the reasons why people will start receiving spam in their emails or SMS and wonder where these strangers retrieved their numbers!
Fortunately, the researchers over at Darmstadt university came up with an answer to this problem.
The university discovered this flaw all the way back in 2019; however, Apple had been silent about the issue until now.
They created something called “PrivateDrop”- a solution that can quickly and safely determine whether a nearby iPhone is on your contact lists- doing so without sending your phone number and email address.
TechRepublic has put Apple under the spotlight two times now, but Apple is still to respond.
The company has yet to acknowledge that AirDrop poses a security risk to users, nor have they made any promises to fix the problem.
How To Be Careful With AirDrop
The first thing you should do is change your AirDrop settings ASAP, as there have now been numerous complaints of people receiving unsolicited pictures and files.
Cyber flashing is fast becoming a big problem in the US. Reports describe attacks in trains, buses, planes, and almost any place where there is a large crowd present.
Technology has definitely made everything easier; unfortunately, the ease at which technology has made things is both positive and negative.
While the benefits of technological advancement are certainly undeniable, it has also made malicious acts easier to accomplish- where even being a creep now requires minimal effort!
To stop receiving unsolicited files, change your AirDrop settings from “Everyone” to “Contacts only”.
For extra safety, simply turn the AirDrop off and only enable it when it’s going to be in use!
To prevent intruders from entering your space, ensure that the receiver’s device is within your Wi-Fi connection and Bluetooth radius.
When there is a close proximity between the sender and receiver, the chances of an intruder are minimal.
When in use, AirDrop allows the receiver to see a preview of incoming photos or videos- which the user can then accept or reject.
Unfortunately, this is not the most effective solution as it can still result in harassment. To make matters worse, one can even send files anonymously through AirDrop in public spaces.
In case you receive an unwarranted file that upsets you, it is safer to keep the file and report it to the police.
It’s important to remember that it is a criminal offense to harass other people through verbal, physical, or online communication.
The police in the cybercrime unit have the equipment to analyze mobile phones and track files back to the sender’s device.
And if you are found guilty of sending an unwanted file with an intention to harass or annoy another party in places like New York, you are liable to $1,000 worth of fines- or up to a year in jail!
Best AirDrop Alternatives
Send Anywhere is an app that allows you to share files, documents, or any type of data.
With this app, you can send files to any place in the world, no matter the distance to the receiving device.
To use Send Anywhere, simply upload the files to the app to be stored on the server. The app will then generate a link that the receiver can use to access the files.
To use Snapdragon, open the app on both devices. The app is user-friendly and does not require much setup.
It is also free to use without limiting the file size you can send. As such, it is highly recommended by multiple media outlets.
Instashare is not open-source software; however, it does have a 7-day free trial, with the monthly subscription payment at $5.99 per.
The app is compatible with MacOS, iOS, Android, and Windows. You only need to set up the app on both devices to begin sharing files.
Filedrop works similarly to AirDrop. It connects your Apple devices to a common Wi-Fi connection and proceeds to share.
The application then provides you with on-screen instructions to follow to complete your file transfer.
Filedrop works for all devices, including Windows, Android, MacOS, and iOS. However, it is considered to be somewhat outdated, and thus not the most modern of solutions.
Google Drive offers users 15GB of free storage. As long as you have an active Gmail account, you have the option to download the Google Drive app to transfer files.
As an added benefit, it works on all devices with a Gmail account.
To use it, simply upload the files to your Google Drive account and share the link with all interested parties. Instantly, they’ll have access to view and even edit the files!
Due to various security reasons, AirDrop history is not accessible to users.
If you are always getting files in your phone that you did not download, it is definitely safer to keep your AirDrop turned off when not in use.
At the same time, try and monitor the people who have access to your phone.
When using the Contacts Only option with AirDrop, make sure the receiver is within your proximity (otherwise it may result in a “No People Found” message!). In that way, you’re both protected from possible intruders as much as possible.
Researchers have found out that AirDrop can reveal your email address and number to nearby Apple devices.
This occurs whenever the device is trying to assess whether the receiver is in your contact list.
Therefore, in a crowded space, a person with the right technological knowledge can anonymously gain access to this crucial information. Following that, you may become a victim of spam or other forms of online harassment!
Therefore, it’s extremely important to exercise due diligence whenever operating AirDrop.
As a point of emphasis, it’s definitely safer to turn your AirDrop off when you are not expecting any files. This way, you can prevent unsolicited files from strangers.