In November, iOS 16.1.1 was released, which introduced AirDrop, a feature that allows users to send and receive information from other iPhone users without the internet. For Chinese users, this feature was limited to a maximum of 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes had passed, the receiving preferences are returned to "off" or "contacts only."
In China, the AirDrop receiving options have been modified, though other iPhones still have the ability to accept messages from anyone. Bloomberg claims that the feature will be made globally, though the company has not confirmed this.
The change has been met with backlash, with prominent individuals such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis calling out Apple for its actions.
According to DeSantis, the changes made by Apple were part of the Chinese Communist Party's efforts to suppress dissent. He noted that the country's government had been implementing zero-carbon lockdown policies for three years, and that the company was restricting the AirDrop functionality of those who were protesting. "They are essentially serving as a pawn of the Chinese Communist Party.
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri asked Apple CEO Tim Cook why the company had changed the AirDrop feature in China. In a letter to Apple, he noted that the new restrictions made it harder for Chinese users to communicate.
Some of the individuals who criticized Apple included lawyer Will Chamberlain, conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, and Ben Kew, an editor.
Fun to see how the White House is very, very upset with "misinformation" on Twitter but apparently has nothing to say about Apple disabling Airdrop in China just before protests broke out. https://t.co/6B5OoxCauF
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 29, 2022
If Tim Cook decides to force Twitter off the App Store while preventing Chinese protestors from communicating via Airdrop, the destruction of Apple’s monopoly power will have to become the top priority of our party
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) November 28, 2022
Apple has DELIBERATELY BLOCKED access to their AirDrop feature in China on orders of the Communist Party.
This makes it more difficult for Chinese dissidents to communicate as they can NO LONGER BYPASS the regime's notorious "firewall."
Is Apple an ASSET OF COMMUNIST CHINA? pic.twitter.com/85AN4pjtvu
— Ben Kew 🐶 (@ben_kew) November 28, 2022
Apple is now limiting the use of airdrop in China after protestors were using it to communicate.
Seeing Apple side with the CCP tells you exactly what kind of company they are. Meanwhile Balenciaga’s app is still available to download…@elonmusk needs to replace apple ASAP!
— Layah Heilpern (@LayahHeilpern) November 29, 2022
China is a vital part of Apple's manufacturing operations, and the company noted that the country's strict COVID-19 restrictions have caused issues with the production of its iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models.
The people of China have faced various types of COVID-19 lockdowns. Despite the world's opinion that zero carbon emissions are impossible, the Chinese Communist Party still persisted with its efforts.
The recent string of protests was triggered by the deaths of ten individuals who were trapped in their apartments due to the government's COVID-19 restrictions.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Washington Examiner.