iPhone user says this new automatic feature is dangerous for women

@kellysites/TikTok DenPhotos/ShutterStock

‘I had no idea this was even a thing’: iPhone user says this new automatic feature is a ‘security risk’ for women

'My notes app would never…'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Apr 13, 2024   Updated on Apr 12, 2024, 11:07 pm CDT

A user on TikTok has issued a warning against a new feature on Apple iPhones.

In a video with over 6.1 million views as of Saturday, TikTok user Kelly Sites (@kellysites) explains how Apple’s new Journal app could be opening people up to security risks.

“You know how Apple put on our iPhones recently the ‘Journaling’ app?” Sites asks in her video. “It’s obviously geared towards women, and at first, I was like, ‘Great. Cool. I love this.’”

However, upon investigating further, Sites became upset about one of the features of the app.

“Apparently, it makes you discoverable by people around you,” she states. “That to me feels like such a security risk and a safety risk as a woman—to just, like, have this automatically be put on my phone in the settings.”

The video concludes with Sites showing how to turn the discoverability feature off. This involves going to your iPhone’s settings, selecting Privacy & Security, scrolling down until you reach “Journaling Suggestions,” and then toggling the “Discoverable by Others” mode into the “Off” position.

So is Sites right to be concerned about the security of this app?

For context, Apple launched the “Journal” app as part of an iPhone update in December last year. Per the company’s website, the app allows users to “capture and write about everyday moments and special events in their lives, and include photos, videos, audio recordings, locations, and more to create rich memories.”

While Sites may be concerned about the potential of the app to share data with others, that doesn’t seem to be the goal of the feature. As noted by Snopes, this feature appears to allow “users who write their private entries in Journal” to “receive suggestions associated with people who were nearby to them during the day.”

“According to Apple, Journal uses Bluetooth to ‘detect the number of devices and contacts around you’ and ‘improve or prioritize your suggestions,’” explains Maria Diaz for ZDNet. “Essentially, Apple wants you to capture special moments when you’re out with friends and family.”

“It just means that if I spend the day with my friend it connects it and it can send a prompt like ‘share about your day in the park with ___’ but it won’t share it,” explained a comment under Sites’ TikTok.

That said, if one is uncomfortable about this feature, one can turn it off in the settings, as demonstrated by Sites in her video.

@kellysites Can someone who knows more about online security tell me what this setting means? #iphonetricks #iphonesettings #womensafety ♬ original sound – Kelly Sites

No matter how easy the feature is to disable, users in Sites’ comments section were upset by the fact that the setting was turned on by default.

“I have so many random people in my contacts because my family once shared their contacts with me and now it’s chaos in my contacts. Toggling off for sure,” said a commenter.

“Just this past week I went to Taco Bell and when I got home I got a notification from the journal app saying ‘would you like to document about your experience at Taco Bell’??” recalled another.

“The journal app felt icky to me so I deleted it,” shared a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Sites and Apple via email.

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*First Published: Apr 13, 2024, 8:00 am CDT