Apple’s video calling app lets the user hear, and even see, their caller on an iPhone before they’ve even picked up the hook, raising concerns about data privacy.
A bug that makes users react
The bug, first reported on the Apple products website 9to5Mac.com, has also been reported by several media. A video posted to the @BmManski Twitter account shows the ease with which this bug makes it possible to listen to audio coming from an iPhone contacted via FaceTime. As of Monday night, it had totaled over a million views and been shared 10,000 times in California. Twitter users have explained on the social network how to disable FaceTime, until a correction is made. An Apple support page says the FaceTime group has been “temporarily unavailable” since 7:16 p.m. local time (03:16 GMT) due to an ongoing, unspecified “issue”.
Apple is preparing a software update
A statement from Apple, quoted in US media, states that the iPhone maker is aware of the problem and has ” identified a fix that will be introduced in a software update later in the week“. According to videos posted on Twitter, when someone dials a phone number on FaceTime, they can swipe up on their screen and choose an option to add a caller. If the caller then enters their own number on the “add a person” screen, a group call begins even if the contact has not yet picked up. The caller can then listen to it and even, according to some videos, see it through their device’s camera. Refusing a call ends the connection.
A controversy on the horizon?
” Turn off FaceTime for now, until Apple fixes“, Advised Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, in a message posted on the social network. His post included a message from tech specialist Andy Baio. ” Want to see a really bad bug?“, He asks. ” You can use FaceTime to join any IOS 12.1 device and listen remotely – WITHOUT ANY OTHER PEOPLE PICKING UP“. No Apple official, solicited, had yet reacted Monday evening.