FaceTime Flaw Lets You Spy on Friends (and Enemies)

A still from Leaving Neverland

Apple only added the ability to host more than two people in the same FaceTime call in a software update last October.

Apple Inc. customers discovered a software bug that lets people listen in on other users by way of the company's FaceTime video chat service in one of the biggest privacy-related problems faced by the company. Under certain circumstances, the glitch also allowed callers to see the person they were calling before they picked up. Of course, that person can hear you as well, but only if it's aware that a FaceTime call is in progress.

Although Apple has officially changed the status of FaceTime to "issue" on its System Status page, likely disabling the feature server side, some users are reporting that it's still possible to take advantage of the bug. Good thing the company responded in a timely manner to disable the feature, though.

An iPhone owner can attempt to replicate the security bug by starting a FaceTime call with a contact, then - while the phone is ringing - swiping up on the screen and selecting "Add Person". If the recipient hit the power or volume button, the phone would broadcast video as well, the Vergereported. He said it would have been hard to use the bug to spy on someone, as the phone would ring first - and it's easy to identify who called.

He commented: "The FaceTime bug is an egregious breach of privacy that puts New Yorkers at risk". We've all said/done silly things when waiting for someone to pick up, so to avoid any embarrassing mishaps, here's how you can turn it off. Apple has promised to issue a permanent fix "later this week", according to 9to5Mac.

On a Mac, launch the FaceTime app, go to FaceTime menu near the top left and click on Turn FaceTime Off. This essentially turned any device with Group FaceTime - include iPhones, iPads and Macs - into a listening device.

On an iPhone or iPad, head to Settings FaceTime and toggle FaceTime off.

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