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Nasty FaceTime bug lets you hear call recipients before they’ve answered

Apple will roll out a fix to the huge FaceTime security bug next week

Apple will fix a massive FaceTime bug that let you listen to the audio of the person you’re calling before they’ve even answered — but that patch might take some time. Users will receive the fix next week, despite Apple’s promise to deploy it by the end of this week.

“We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple’s servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week,” said Apple in a statement to MacRumors.

The issue relates to FaceTime’s Group Call feature, which launched in 2018, and Apple has disabled the Group FaceTime function while it works on a fix. The troubling flaw came to light on January 28 and has been replicated numerous times by iPhone owners, many posting their results on social media.

According to 9to5Mac, the bug appears to affect calls between Apple devices running iOS 12.1 or later, and also occurs on Mac computers receiving a FaceTime call.

Previously, it was possible to connect the call and listen in to the audio of the recipient before he or she has accepted or rejected it. Once the call connects, any ringtone would stop sounding but the display would still be asking the recipient to respond. Apple has disabled Group FaceTime now, so it’s no longer possible to replicate the bug for yourself.

FaceTime enables video and audio calls among iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users, and the bug presents a serious privacy issue for the tech giant.

While the bug hardly turns your iPhone into a spy tool worthy of an appearance in a Bond movie, it could nevertheless cause some awkward situations should you go ahead and try to replicate the bug for yourself without first informing the recipient of the call.

After all, how will you feel if you hear the recipient sigh heavily as they see who’s calling, or worse, if they utter something along the lines of, “Not him again,” before answering in a jolly voice?

Updated on February 1, 2019: Apple will roll out a fix to the FaceTime security bug next week.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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