Protect yourself from receiving unsolicited X-rated images on your mobile

Protect yourself from receiving unsolicited X-rated images on your mobile

Airdrop and Quick Share enable quick file exchanges on smartphones. However, this can also be misused. With a few simple settings, so-called cyberflashing can be prevented.

Cyberflashing is the act of sending unsolicited, explicit images or videos to someone via digital messaging, such as on a smartphone or social media. This is a form of harassment. It can occur through several means, including Bluetooth, Airdrop or messaging apps, and is done without the consent of the recipient. 

Airdrop on iPhones and Quick Share on Android phones are convenient features for ad hoc and wireless file exchanges with others nearby. However, it is advisable to choose restrictive settings for these wireless features to avoid being visible to everyone. Otherwise, there is a risk of receiving unsolicited obscene photos or videos on your smartphone. And if you don't want to send or receive files anyway, it's best to turn off the function altogether.

How does this work on iOS? 

This can be quickly done on the iPhone via the Control Center. This can be opened by swiping down from the upper right corner of the screen. Then you can press on the network settings card at the top left, tap the "Airdrop" button, and activate "Receiving from".

When using Airdrop, it is also recommended to choose the options "Contacts Only" or "Everyone for 10 Minutes" if you want to exchange data with a non-contact. After ten minutes, Airdrop will automatically revert to the "Contacts Only" option.

How does this work on Android devices?

On Android smartphones, it works similarly. You can open the status bar with the quick settings by swiping down from the top of the display. There you will find a Quick Share button to turn on or off. If this button is missing, you can add it by tapping the pencil icon.

Using the Quick Share button takes you to the settings for the feature. Here, it is advisable to choose the "Contacts" option when Quick Share is enabled. The device is only visible to contacts nearby when the screen is on and unlocked. For a brief exchange with non-contacts, there is the option "Only for 10 minutes". After that, it automatically reverts to "Contacts".

It may happen that the function is still available under the name Nearby Share on older devices, as Google recently renamed it. Also, it may happen that the terms Quick Share and Nearby Share are found simultaneously on a smartphone. However, this does not change the functionality.

Note that Airdrop and Quick Share are not compatible with each other. File sharing only works between smartphones with the same operating system.