FaceTime bug let you listen to people before they pick up

macOS Mojave Group Chat
macOS Mojave Group Chat

Apple says a fix is in the works for massive flaw

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29 January 2019 | 0

Apple has switched off its group FaceTime function in iOS 12 after it was discovered that callers could hear sound from the recipient’s microphone even if they haven’t picked up. It works by exploiting a bug with Apple’s newish Group FaceTime feature introduced in iOS 12.1, but fortunately Apple says a fix is already in the works.

A statement from Apple read: “We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.”

Word of the bug started spreading on social media but there’s evidence that users may have already informed Apple about it as far back as a week ago. As Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman pointed out on Twitter, the son of a Twitter user with the handle of @MGT7500 reported a bug that sounds a lot like the current one on 20 January.

A bad call
At its simplest, you could listen to the audio of the person you’re calling if you called them with a FaceTime video chat and then added yourself as a party in Group FaceTime while the call was going out. Even if the person on the other end hadn’t picked up, it was still possible to hear their audio. This apparently only worked if both phones could handle Group FaceTime – so, an iPhone 6s or newer running iOS 12.1 or later.

The bug was easily replicable on iPhone XS Max and an iPhone XR, and particularly scary in cases where the person being called wasn’t aware their phone was ringing.

As 9to5Mac reports, if someone took these steps when calling you, but you hit the power button to dismiss the call, you would start sending a video feed even though you were not aware of it. You could even hear their audio at this point, but you likely wouldn’t be aware you were sending audio and video to them, as you hadn’t accepted the call.

A different variation was found when calling an iPhone 6s, where adding a person to a call essentially forced a phone to connect.

IDG News Service

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