Here’s What to Know About One of the Coolest New Apple Watch Features: NameDrop


Between the brand-new Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 that Apple announced this week at its “Wonderlust” event, it’s safe to say Apple Watch fans will be well fed by the company this year. 

As I was watching the event online, I noticed a theme for the software updates the company is bringing to the Apple Watch. This year, Apple seems to be championing connectivity, including features designed to let you better connect with your health, better connect with your other Apple devices, and even better connect with folks around you. One of those features is called NameDrop. 

Here’s what we know about NameDrop on your Apple Watch. For more, here’s how to get ready for iOS 17 and how to download the new OS on Sept. 18.

What is NameDrop?

NameDrop is a new way for Apple Watch users to share contact information, with a simple and subtle movement of the wrist. NameDrop works much like AirDrop does to quickly share a file or send a photo. Gone are the days of typing phone numbers or handing over your phone so someone can put their number into your contacts. 

During its event, Apple showed two people placing their Apple Watches near each other to swap contact info. Apple says this is enabled by the brand-new S9 chip.

How can I get NameDrop? 

Though the feature was announced as part of WatchOS 10, the fine print of Apple’s breakdown of both WatchOS 10 and iOS 17 reveals that NameDrop will be coming to Apple Watch “later this year.” 

So it doesn’t look like Watch users will be able to use NameDrop just yet. But it’s still a good idea to update your watch to WatchOS 10 so you can be ready to hop on the NameDrop update as soon as it arrives. 

Can I use NameDrop if I don’t have an Apple Watch? 

If you’re an iPhone user and you want to get in on all the NameDrop action, you’re in luck. Apple’s iOS 17, which is set to appear on Monday, Sept. 18, will have NameDrop capabilities. So, if you’re an iPhone user running iOS 17, you’ll be able to use NameDrop to immediately swap contacts with another iPhone user running iOS 17 — and with Apple Watch users once it’s available there. 

Screenshot of Apple's NameDrop feature on the iPhone

NameDrop also works on the iPhone. 

Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

How does NameDrop Work? 

Apple has been light on details, but the company says NameDrop is a “new AirDrop experience” where “a user can hold their iPhone near another to share their contact information with only their intended recipient.” Apple also said users will be able to pick and choose what information gets shared over NameDrop. 

Apple said watch users will also be able to use NameDrop by tapping the My Card watch face complication and then bringing their Apple Watch face to face with someone else’s Apple Watch. We’ll update this story as we learn more.

For more, here’s everything on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. And here’s when every Apple OS update will be available.