United flight evacuated just before takeoff after teen sends AirDrop photo of gun to fellow passengers
- United flight 2167 bound for Orlando was delayed in San Francisco on Thursday
- Teen on plane sent photo of airsoft gun to other passengers just before takeoff
- Pic was sent via AirDrop, which allows files to be sent to other iPhone users
- Pilot announced a ‘threat’ and all passengers were removed from the plane
- Passengers were re-screened by security before being let back on board
- Teen was not allowed back on the flight, which left a short time later
A teenager caused panic aboard a United flight bound for San Francisco International Airport on Thursday when he sent a photo of an airsoft gun through AirDrop, forcing officials to remove all passengers.
The incident took place on Thursday aboard United Airlines Flight 2167 en route to Orlando.
As the plane prepared to leave the gate, a teenage passenger began sending pictures of the toy gun to others on board. KNTV-TV reported.
The teen used the AirDrop feature on the Apple iPhone, which allows owners of devices running the iOS and macOS operating system to share files when connected via a wireless Internet feed or Bluetooth.
A teenager caused panic aboard a United flight bound for San Francisco International Airport on Thursday when he sent a photo of an airsoft gun through AirDrop, forcing officials to remove all passengers. The image above is a 2019 stock photo of a United Airlines jet landing at London’s Heathrow International Airport
A teen on board sent photos of a toy airsoft gun (like the one in the image above)
The teen used the AirDrop feature on the Apple iPhone, which allows owners of devices running the iOS and macOS operating system to share files when connected via a wireless Internet feed or Bluetooth
United said all passengers were removed from the plane as a precaution and re-screened by security.
Before the passengers were allowed back on board, a security check was carried out on the aircraft.
The teen who sent the photo was banned from boarding the plane.
Chris Beale, a radio host and reporter, told: SFGATE that the plane was “held on the runway after several passengers reported receiving inappropriate photos.”
Beale said his mother, Alesia Dobson, was a passenger on board the plane.
He said that after the photo of the gun was sent, the pilot announced there was a threat on board and forced everyone out of the plane.
The gun that was photographed did not belong to the teenager.
There is no word on whether the teen will face disciplinary action or criminal penalties.
Apple’s AirDrop has often been misused by cybercriminals in recent years to send unsolicited, explicit images to others nearby.
HOW TO CHANGE THE AIRDROP SETTINGS
Once AirDrop is enabled, users will be presented with three options for who can send them photos: Received from, Contacts only, or Everyone.
If you’re not sure what yours is set to, go to Settings > General > AirDrop.
Here you’ll see the three options, with a blue check next to the one you’ve enabled.
For safer use of the feature, select Contacts only.
Subway riders and other city visitors have increasingly reported receiving sexually explicit photos through Apple’s AirDrop tool in recent years.
After several New York subway travelers reported receiving unwanted photos of male genitalia via AirDrop, lawmakers decided to make it a crime punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Apple’s AirDrop tool allows iPhone users to send and receive files over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
While it is undoubtedly a useful feature in some circumstances, it has also opened the door for a new kind of predatory behavior.
Once AirDrop is enabled, users will be given three options for who they can send photos to: Received From, Contacts Only, or Everyone.
But many iPhone users have turned it on, unaware that it’s set to accept “Everyone” — and never expecting the feature to be used maliciously.
However, unsolicited photos received on the train, library, or line at Starbucks are for many a rude awakening and a reminder to tighten up their device’s privacy settings.