Here’s why you should care – India TV

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Millions of iPhone users around the world found a mysterious new setting automatically switched on in their smartphones. The new setting “Discoverable by Others” was part of the latest software update. It is found under ‘Journalling Suggestions’ in the privacy and security settings section of iPhones. Journalling Suggestions was part of the new Journal app, which was released as part of iOS 17.2 in December 2023.

Once turned on, the feature uses historical data stored on the user’s iPhone.The data includes music, photos, workouts, who they have called or texted, and significant locations. It is used to give users suggestions of what moments to write about in the Journal app.

The feature remains enabled by default and it remains enabled even if a user has deleted the Journal app. According to Joanna Stern, a senior personal technology columnist at The Wall Street Journal, Apple has confirmed that users’ phones are capable of utilising Bluetooth to detect nearby devices that are associated with their contacts list. However, the phone does not store any information about the specific contacts that were detected. This feature is used to provide context to improve Journalling Suggestions.

The company has also denied sharing users’ names and locations with others. To further emphasise their point, Apple provided an example of hosting a dinner party at your home with friends who are listed in your contacts. According to the tech giant, the system may prioritise the event in Journalling Suggestions. This is because it recognizes that it wasn’t just an ordinary night at home with your family, but rather a special occasion due to the number of guests.

According to Apple’s support page, if you choose to disable the ‘Discoverable by Others’ option to prevent yourself from being included in your contacts’ counts, the ‘Prefer Suggestions with Others’ feature will also be disabled. This means that the Journalling Suggestions feature will not be able to detect the number of devices and contacts in your proximity.

ALSO READ: Apple rollouts iOS 17.5 beta 1 update to developers: Here’s what’s new

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