A move to meaningful sharing can improve well-being and security alike
If anything, we today use devices to share too much of ourselves. Social networks and smartphones have made it worryingly easy to flood the internet with a raft of ephemera. Worse, people tend to make widely available key information about themselves that later opens the door to spoofing and identity theft, due to various bad actors sucking up all manner of personal data.
Cheery, eh? Fortunately, Apple’s increasingly thinking about sharing in different, better ways – and that’s evident from features found in iOS 17.
Sharing with intent
The shift from the physical to the virtual can detach us from our everyday lives. We see that in money, where people will think longer and harder about making a cash payment than the equivalent value by card or contactless methods.
With NameDrop, Apple seeks to bring back tactility to the process of sharing contact information. Simply, you bring your phones together and can then share which details you’re happy to send over. The gesture can also be used for sharing files and starting a SharePlay session.
It’s intuitive, and yet gives you that extra moment to opt out if you wish. And it’s smart too, in that you don’t want to sit there, arm outstretched, while a huge file transfers. So those continue in the background if you and the recipient are both signed into iCloud.
With our lives increasingly reliant on technology, it pays to make sure everything we share is secure. The thing is, it’s hard enough to keep your own data safe. But if you’re part of a family or a close circle of friends, there will be times when you need to share important information – but won’t want it to get out there into the wild.
With iOS 17, Apple introduces two welcome sharing features in this space that again feel meaningful: password and passkey sharing, and Find My Item sharing.
In the former case, you can share login details for services and apps with a group of trusted contacts you define. You must be mindful anyone in the group can edit those passwords. But if, say, you and your partner need access to subscriptions or shopping accounts, login details can in iOS 17 be easily and securely shared and kept updated. Handy.
And with Find My Item sharing, Apple again bridges the physical and the virtual, by letting up to five others share your AirTag – or any other Find My network accessory. That’s great news for tracking your family’s luggage when on vacation, or using an AirTag with a shared car – rather than smartphones blaring off alerts about AirTags that belong to another family member.
Finally, Apple isn’t all about serious stuff. There is a place for sharing more transient things. But even then, doing so meaningfully matters.
In iOS 17, music sharing gets updates. First, Apple is playing catch-up, in letting you invite friends to join an Apple Music playlist. Spotify has been able to do this forever, but it’s great that Apple Music fans will finally get the chance to foist their musical tastes on each other.
Apple has also extended music sharing to the car. As long as the car owner subscribes to Apple Music, they can kick off a SharePlay session and passengers can then scan a QR code and add songs to the Apple Music queue. Although we imagine if wags keep adding Cars multiple times to said queue, they might get dropped off ‘early’, and the owner might consider this particular feature a sole case of oversharing in iOS 17.