Apple Made One Crippling Change to iPhones in China Before Mass Protests Broke Out ⋆ Flag And Cross

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Apple changed the AirDrop file sharing function on the iPhone in mainland China as widespread protests over the communist government’s “zero COVID” strategy spread.

Quartz reported, “AirDrop, the file-sharing feature on iPhones and other Apple devices, has helped protestors in many authoritarian countries evade censorship. That’s because AirDrop relies on direct connections between phones, forming a local network of devices that don’t need the internet to communicate.”

“People can opt into receiving AirDrops from anyone else with an iPhone nearby,” the business news outlet explained.

However, on Nov. 9, Apple released a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS16.1.1, which did not list new features, but simply stated, “This update includes bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.”

Hidden in that update is a change that only applies to mainland China, which limits file sharing to 10 minutes.

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Further,  users can no longer keep the “everyone” setting permanently on Chinese iPhones.

Apple intends to expand the “Everyone for 10 Minutes” feature globally over the next year, according to CNN Business.

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Protesters used the earlier AirDrop feature to spread leaflets and slogans between Apple devices.

Quartz reported that Apple’s market share among Chinese consumers grew to 16 percent of the market last quarter, up from from 11 percent a year ago.

“Apple has repeatedly helped China control dissent, mostly by removing apps that protestors have used to coordinate, communicate, or gather information,” according to the news outlet.

The New York Times reported protests spread throughout China over the weekend following a building fire in the country’s far west region of Xinjiang in the capital city of Urumqi, which left at least 10 dead.


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