Apple FaceTime Bug: How to Protect Your Privacy

Sheri Evans
January 30, 2019

Anyone can call you on FaceTime and hear audio or see video from your phone before you answer. While it's ringing, swipe up from the bottom of the device's display and tap Add Person, then add your own number in the Add Person screen.

A viral Tweet showed off how to spy on users using Facetime, with people able to listen via the microphone and watch via the camera before anyone has picked up.

Apple said it had developed a fix and an update would be rolled out this week.

The Cupertino, California-based company was not immediately available to comment on the update on its system status page.

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, speaks about group FaceTime during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, June 4, 2018, in San Jose, Calif.

Discovery of the flaw coincided with National Privacy Day in the USA, a day heralded by Apple boss Tim Cook.

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A new Group FaceTime bug allows callers to see and hear the person they're calling before they've even answered. Venture Beat also reported that this glitch could be replicated with a Mac as well, making this glitch especially scary.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers to turn off FaceTime until the problem was fixed.

Apple is scrambling to fix a serious bug that has been discovered in its FaceTime messaging services.

In the meantime, industry figures including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey have urged users to disable the FaceTime feature as a precautionary measure until Apple fixes the issue.

The issue comes at a critical juncture for Apple, which has been beset by slowing iPhone sales.

To disable the FaceTime app temporarily, users can go to Settings, select FaceTime and then toggle it to off until a patch has been issued. This essentially turned any device with Group FaceTime - include iPhones, iPads and Macs - into a listening device.

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