iPhone users woke up today to a bug in FaceTime, which allowed anyone to eavesdrop on others by making a group video call. The bug gave iPhone users access to the front camera and microphone of other users for a few seconds before the call was answered or disconnected by them. This was verified by a bunch of FaceTime users who took to social media to express their ire. Twitter user Benji Mobb shared a video on showing how the bug works, which was later verified by tech portals 9toMac and Buzzfeed Tech.
Apple has disabled group calling in FaceTime, according to 9to5 Mac. “We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week," said an Apple spokesperson. Group video calling in FaceTime was added with iOS 12.1 update in October 2018 to keep users within their ecosystem of apps and turn less to third party services like WhatsApp or Messenger for group video calling.
The FaceTime bug allowed caller to hear the audio from the recipient right after a call was made, however, access to video wasn’t available from the beginning. Some users found they were leaking video after pressing the power button, while according to Twitter user Jessasisn, his video was getting leaked after he joined a FaceTime on another Apple device, while the call was still ringing on the destination device.
The FaceTime bug is a blow to Apple’s reputation, otherwise known for its firm stand on user privacy. However, this isn’t the first privacy glitch involving Apple’s services. In March 2018, for instance, a bug in Apple’s voice assistant Siri allowed anyone to listen to hidden message notifications on a locked iPhone by simply asking Siri to read it aloud. Apple had fixed the issue through software updates.