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United flight evacuated after teen sends picture of airsoft gun using AirDrop

United flight is evacuated just before takeoff after teen AirDrops picture of gun to fellow passengers

  • United Flight 2167 bound for Orlando was delayed on Thursday in San Francisco 
  • Teen aboard plane sent pic of airsoft gun to other passengers just before takeoff
  • Pic was sent through AirDrop which allows files to be sent to other iPhone users 
  • Pilot announced a ‘threat’ and all passengers were removed from the aircraft 
  • Passengers were re-screened through security before being let back on board 
  • Teen was not permitted back onto the flight, which took off short time later 

A teenager caused a panic aboard a United flight set to depart San Francisco International Airport on Thursday when he sent a photo of an airsoft gun through AirDrop, prompting officials to remove all passengers.

The incident took place aboard United Airlines Flight 2167 bound for Orlando on Thursday.

As the plane was preparing to pull out of the gate, a teen passenger started sending photos of the toy weapon to others on board, KNTV-TV reported.

The teen used the AirDrop feature on the Apple iPhone, which allows owners of devices using either the iOS and macOS operating systems to share files if connected through a wireless internet feed or Bluetooth.

A teenager caused a panic aboard a United flight set to depart San Francisco International Airport on Thursday when he sent a photo of an airsoft gun through AirDrop, prompting 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 pics of a toy airsoft gun (like the one seen in the stock image above)

A teen on board sent pics of a toy airsoft gun (like the one seen in the stock image above)

The teen used the AirDrop feature on the Apple iPhone, which allows owners of devices using either the iOS and macOS operating systems to share files if connected through a wireless internet feed or Bluetooth

The teen used the AirDrop feature on the Apple iPhone, which allows owners of devices using either the iOS and macOS operating systems to share files if connected through a wireless internet feed or Bluetooth

According to United, all of the passengers were removed from the aircraft ‘out of an abundance of caution’ and rescreened through security.

A security sweep of the plane was done before the passengers were permitted to re-board.

The teen who sent the photo was not permitted back onto the plane.

Chris Beale, a radio host and reporter, told SFGATE that the plane was ‘held on the tarmac after several passengers reported receiving inappropriate photos.’

Beale said his mother, Alesia Dobson, was a passenger on board the flight.

He said that after the photo of the gun was sent, the pilot announced that there was a threat on board, forcing everyone off of the plane.

The weapon that was photographed did not belong to the teen.

There is no word on whether the teen faces any disciplinary action or criminal penalties.

Apple’s AirDrop has frequently been exploited in recent years by cyber creeps to send unsolicited, explicit images to others nearby.

HOW TO CHANGE AIRDROP SETTINGS 

Once AirDrop is enabled, users are given three options for who can send them photos: Receiving Off, 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-mark next to the one you have enabled. 

For a more secure use of the function, select Contacts Only. 

Subway riders and other city-goers have increasingly reported that they’ve been sent sexually explicit pictures through Apple’s AirDrop tool in recent years.

After several New York City subway riders reported receiving unwanted photos of male genitalia through AirDrop, lawmakers moved to make it a crime punishable by up to a year in jail as well as a $1,000 fine.

Apple’s AirDrop tool allows iPhone users to send and receive files over WiFi and Bluetooth.

While undoubtedly a convenient feature in some circumstances, it’s also opened the door for a new type of predatory behavior.

Once AirDrop is enabled, users are given three options for who can send them photos: Receiving Off, 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.

Unsolicited photos received while on the train, at the library, or standing on line at Starbucks, however, have come as a rude awakening to many, and a reminder to tighten their device’s privacy settings. 

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