FaceTime Bug Lets iPhone Users Listen to Other People’s Phones

Apple disables Group FaceTime after glitch lets users listen and watch other people’s iPhones

Apple CEO Tim Cook

A major FaceTime bug is allowing iPhone users to listen to other people’s phones — and in some cases, see them through their screens — even if the recipient doesn’t answer their phone.

The glitch, first spotted by 9to5Mac on Monday afternoon, was pretty easy to check out: first, you make a FaceTime video call to someone in your iPhone contacts. Then, while it’s dialing, swipe up on your screen and hit “Add Person.” You can then add your own phone number, which will allow you listen to the audio on the initial contact’s phone, whether they’ve answered or not.

Compounding matters, if the first contact bumped the volume or power button to ignore the call, it’d instead broadcast video of their phone to the person calling them.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but told The New York Times on Monday night that it had “identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.” Apple also disabled the Group FaceTime feature impacted by the bug. The issue hit any users on iOS 12.1 or later.

The embarrassing bug comes after Apple chief Tim Cook has, on several occasions in the last year, lectured on the importance of user privacy and data protection. The issue also comes right before Apple is set to report its quarterly earnings on Tuesday afternoon. Investors didn’t seem to care about the bug on Tuesday morning, though, with Apple shares trading up a fraction of a percent to $156.41 in early-morning trading.