Apple is urgently trying to fix a bug with their FaceTime video-calling after a website revealed how you can easily listen in on a person you are calling regardless of whether they pick up or not.
A video that was posted on the Twitter account @BmManski illustrated how the bug worked. It shows that when you dial a phone number on FaceTime, the person dialing can then swipe up from the bottom of the screen and select an option to ‘add a person’.
If a caller then enters their number as also being the added caller, a FaceTime group call will begin automatically, even though the person you are calling has not yet picked up.
Because the group call has been activated, the person calling is then able to eavesdrop on the recipient of the call without their knowledge. Some demonstrations even revealed that it was possible to see footage from the front-facing camera on the Apple device.
It is only possible for the recipient of the call to break the connection if they opt to refuse the call.
— Benji Mobb™ (@BmManski) January 28, 2019
In response to the issue, Apple took the radical step of taking the FaceTime group call feature offline completely while they sought a fix to the problem. However, despite this step, some users including the 9to5mac team said they were still able to replicate the bug.
Apple released a short statement yesterday in response to the issue confirming that the group call feature was temporarily disabled. They are reported to have identified a fix for the problem and a source close to the company said this would be rolled out later this week.
It is not yet clear when Apple plans to make the FaceTime group call feature available again, but most experts are predicting that it will most likely come back when the fix is rolled out.
Social media users were quick to spread the word about the problem yesterday with many warning other users to avoid FaceTime until Apple had resolved the problem.
The founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, took to his site to warn users to disable FaceTime.
Disable FaceTime for now until Apple fixes https://t.co/FNbPAmZsLf
— jack (@jack) January 29, 2019
Anyone who does want to take this step, until the FaceTime fix is rolled out can do so quite simply by visiting the Settings Menu on their Apple device, scrolling down to FaceTime and then sliding the toggle switch to the off position.