Diary app keeps track of who is nearby (and here’s how to turn it off)

Apple’s Diary app has a feature that keeps track of who is near you. This is turned on by default for everyone, but here’s how to turn it off.

Diary app keeps track of who is nearby

The Diary app arrived in December as part of iOS 17.2, with Apple announcing a number of intelligent suggestion features. One of these features is currently getting a lot of attention on social media because it is enabled by default. This concerns the ‘Detectable by others’ function.

While social media posts would have you believe that this feature will share your name and location with everyone around you, that is not the case. Nevertheless, you can simply turn the function off.

Diary app keeps track of who is nearby (and here’s how to turn it off)

Detectable by others

Many features of the Diary app fall under the “Journal Suggestions” setting, which generates suggestions based on your daily life. This feature makes recommendations based on places you go, photos you take, music you listen to and more.

In the Settings app on your iPhone, under ‘Privacy & security’ you will find the section ‘Journal suggestions’. There you will see the ‘Detectable by others’ function. This feature is enabled by default, regardless of whether you have enabled the aforementioned diary suggestions. Apple says it “enables others to detect that you are nearby to prioritize their suggestions.” Anyway, you can disable the feature here.

Diary app

Understandably, the discovery that this feature is enabled by default in the Diary app has caused a bit of a stir. But how exactly does the ‘Discoverable by Others’ feature work? In any case, your name and location will not be shared with the people around you. If you have enabled the function, it will mainly benefit the people around you who use the app. This is what Apple itself says about it:

Your iPhone can use Bluetooth to detect the number of nearby devices that are in your contacts. It does not store which of these specific contacts were nearby, but can instead use this as context to improve and prioritize Diary suggestions.

Suppose you organized a dinner at your home, with friends in your contacts. The Diary app could give this priority in the suggestions, because the system knows from the number of visitors that there was something special about that event. It wasn’t an ordinary evening at home with your family.

Why the feature is enabled by default

As for why the ‘Discoverable by Others’ button is enabled by default, Apple says this is done so that users get the benefits of the Diary app “regardless of whether their friends and people around them are using the Diary app.”

So the function does not automatically share your name and location data with everyone around you. Instead, it uses your iPhone’s presence to make the Diary app’s suggestions better for the people around you. If you don’t want that, simply disable the function.

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