UPDATED 2:46 PM PT – Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Apple has limited a key-feature used by Chinese anti-lockdown protesters to circumvent censorship.
Apple had launched an update to its iPhones sold in mainland China on November 9th. This limited the duration and file-sharing abilities of its air-drop software.
Chinese users can now only set their airdrop to receive messages from people outside of their contacts for 10 minutes before shutting off and can only share-files and data with other iPhone in their contacts.
Airdrop was widely used during the 2019 pro-democracy protests due to its ability to evade censorship by forming a phone-to-phone connection using Bluetooth which did not require internet access.
Apple has repeatedly helped Chinese authorities squash dissent mostly by removing the apps protesters use to communicate or organize.