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Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Apple rolled out a fix for a serious FaceTime bug earlier this month, but it seems that the app still isn’t working as it should.

The update solved a group-call issue that let FaceTime users eavesdrop on the person that they were calling, and while that bug does indeed appear to have been successfully squashed, another problem remains.

Noting a discussion on its forum, MacRumors said some users are finding it difficult to add new people to create a group call on Apple’s video chat app because the “Add Person” button stays grayed out.

Specifically, the problem occurs when two people are chatting, and one of them tries to add a third person to the call. The way around it appears to be to begin a FaceTime call with all of the participants involved from the start, avoiding the need to add someone later on. You can do this by hitting the “+” button at the top right of the display, and then adding the people you want in the call by tapping out their names in the “To:” field at the top.

The tech giant disabled the group-call feature earlier this month while it worked on a fix for the original issue, but it seems that the February 7 update failed to restore all of the app’s functionality.

Apple Support is aware of this latest bug but has yet to say when it will be resolved, so for now you’ll have to resort to using the workaround detailed above.

Privacy issue

The original FaceTime bug, which let the caller connect the call and listen in to the audio of the recipient before he or she had accepted or rejected it, came to light at the end of January 2019.

But Apple came under fire after it was accused of failing to respond to messages from the person who discovered the bug, leaving it exposed. When news of the flaw went viral, Apple finally responded and disabled the group-call feature while it worked on a fix.

Apple said recently that as soon as its engineering team became aware of the issue, it quickly disabled the feature and set about resolving the problem.

The incident didn’t escape the attention of federal lawmakers, either, who described the FaceTime vulnerability as a “significant privacy violation.” In a letter sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the lawmakers demanded answers about why it took the company more than a week to acknowledge the bug and disable FaceTime’s group-call function. Apple is expected to respond to the letter this week.

Apple launched group calls for FaceTime in 2018, but the feature clearly still has some wrinkles that need ironing out.

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Trevor Mogg
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