Apple to Fix FaceTime “Eavesdropping” Bug

An issue has recently come to light regarding a bug in Apple’s FaceTime software. The bug would allow the user to call anyone with FaceTime, but you could immediately hear the audio coming from the other end, even before the recipient has accepted or rejected the incoming call. Whoops! Perhaps, that’s all the more reason why some people avoid Facetime like the plague…

However, Apple have acknowledged the problem and says the issue will be addressed in a software update later this week. For now, Apple has currently disabled the ability for users to make group calls on FaceTime.

The issue was first brought up by the 9t05Mac blog, which said the bug occurs when both users are running the 12.1 version of Apple’s mobile operating system iOS, or newer. It also affects Mac users when they are called through an iPhone device.

This technique also involves using FaceTime’s group chat function, which allegedly confuses the software into activating the target’s microphone, even if the call has been rejected. The eavesdropping eventually ends when the call is ended after a number of rings.

As well as the audio issue, it was also reported that pressing the buttons to block the call or turn off the device would result in a video being recorded and being sent to the call-maker, without their knowledge. This of course, could create some social mishaps for the users, hence why Apple are now swiftly fixing the problem.

FaceTime is still a favoured communication platform for many people, and the bug really needs fixing. Credit: Fox News

In a statement, Apple said: “We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.”

Many users took to social media to express their concern, including Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey, who suggested disabling FaceTime altogether, which can be done through the device’s setting menu.

The bug’s discovery also ironically concurred with America’s National Privacy Day, a day declared by Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook.

“On this #DataPrivacyDay let us all insist on action and reform for vital privacy protections,” Cook wrote on Twitter. “The dangers are real and the consequences are too important.”

New York governor Andrew “Sicko” Cuomo, who just legalised abortions up until the day that babies are born, also advised his state’s residents to disable the FaceTime software until Apple resolves the problem, which to him, is way worse than killing full grown babies.

He said, “The FaceTime bug is an egregious breach of privacy that puts New Yorkers at risk. In New York, we take consumer rights very seriously and I am deeply concerned by this irresponsible bug that can be exploited for unscrupulous purposes.”

FaceTime let’s users talk face to face, but with the bug problem, it’s caused some concerns over privacy.  Credit: 9to5Mac

In addition to Cook’s National Privacy Day, Apple also recently talked about its privacy credentials at the recent CES tech expo in Las Vegas. While the company did not attend the event, it placed a billboard near the event which read: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”. A little ironic now, don’t you think?

Regardless, if you are an iPhone user and are concerned over this bug, we advise you disable the software until the problem has been fixed. Furthermore, if you never use FaceTime, it might be good to disable the software forever. You can do this by simply going to settings, scrolling down to the FaceTime icon, then switching the button from green to grey. This will disable the app until you choose to re-enable it.

Since it’s really better to be safe than sorry, rather than having the risk of someone phoning you on FaceTime, as if you really wanted somebody staring at your morning face, and also listening in on your conversations, even before you pick up the phone or not. Yep, you can thank us later.


Story by Emily Clark

Featured Photo Credit: TheVerge 

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