Sat. May 18th, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • “Discoverable by Others” lets iOS detect how many other devices are nearby, but does not share personal info.
  • Apple encrypts Journal data for user privacy, and the discoverability feature can be turned off if desired in settings.

Apple has added a setting to iOS called “Discoverable by Others”. This feature is enabled on your iPhone and iPad by default, so what does it actually do and how do you turn it off?

What iOS Journal’s New “Discoverable by Others” Is

“Discoverable by Others” is part of the functionality of Apple’s Journal App for iOS. The Journal app is installed on your iPhone or iPad when you purchase it, or will be automatically installed when you update your device to iOS 17.2 or iPadOS 17.2.

The Journal app lets you record journal entries, like a diary. Part of this functionality is prompting you to make an entry with suggestions based on photos you’ve taken, contacts you’ve recently chatted with, and interactions with your apps. This is where “Discoverable by others” comes in.

The feature lets other nearby iOS devices know via Bluetooth that another journaling device is nearby, providing context for these prompts. If a number of your contacts are nearby, the Journal app may identify a prompting opportunity that includes both you and your friends.

What “Discoverable by Others” Isn’t

The Journal app doesn’t share your name or location with others, that’s a misunderstanding that has spread in a bit of a panic. No information about which specific contacts were found is recorded, and all data remains on your device. Nothing is shared with other devices or is uploaded to the internet.

Apple has a generally good track record when it comes to user privacy. All Journal data is encrypted both on your device and on iCloud. Apple also already collects your location data in a highly beneficial way with their Find My network, letting your family and friends share their location with you, and helping you locate lost devices.

If you’re a user of the Journal app, and the social sort, there’s no reason to turn it off (it could remind you to jot down a fun moment for later recollection). However, enabling any new feature on a users’ device without their consent has, justifiably, irked some iPhone owners who would rather have been given the choice to enable it themselves.

How to Disable “Discoverable by Others” on iPhone and iPad

If you don’t use the Journal app or just want to turn this setting off, you can disable “Discoverable by Others” in iOS by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Privacy & Security.”
  3. Scroll down and select “Journaling Suggestions.”
  4. Toggle “Discoverable By Others” to the off position

And that’s it!

If you’re concerned about your privacy, iOS includes a number of features you can use to reduce your online footprint. You can also beef up your iCloud privacy (you can even check if any of the passwords you have stored in your iCloud Keychain have been compromised), tighten your privacy settings on your iOS device itself, and make sure you’re not over-sharing your private info with your apps.

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By John P.

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