'Creepy Change' Affecting Millions Of iPhones

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A "creepy-sounding setting" was automatically turned on iPhones worldwide as part of the latest Apple iOS software update, News.com.au reports.

The 'Discoverable by Others,' which is included under the 'Journaling Suggestions' tab of the iPhone's privacy and security, is part of the new Journal app launched with the iOS 17.2 update on phones last December. Apple can use the consumer's historical data stored on the phone, including music, photos, texts and locations, to suggest moments to include in the journal app when the feature is turned on.

Users will, however, have the 'Discoverable by Others' feature turned on by default if they don't turn it off themselves, which is also the case if they've deleted the Journal app completely. Jonanna Stern, senior personal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, claimed the app sounds creepier than it actually is after using it herself following concerns from many users, but still advised others to turn it off anyway if they don't want their information shared.

Stern said she was told by Apple that the phone can use Bluetooth to detect nearby devices in your contacts, without storing which specific contacts were in the area, and use the data to improve suggestions through the Journaling app. The company denied that it shared users' names and locations with others following claims and backlash on social media, instead comparing the app to hosting a dinner party with friends in your contacts.

Apple also said that its system may prioritize the event in Journaling Suggestions and recognize that it's a unique social gathering based on the headcount.


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