Glitch allowed callers to listen to audio on someone else’s phone — even if they didn’t answer
It was Apple’s turn to apologize for a privacy issue on Friday, with the company saying sorry for a FaceTime bug that allowed callers to listen to other people’s phones.
The bug impacted Group FaceTime for anyone who had updated their phone since late October. The glitch occurred when FaceTime users swiped up on their screen as they were dialing, and added their own number to the call. The makeshift three-way call allowed the caller to listen to the other person’s iPhone and if the recipient hit the volume or power button to ignore the call, it instead started broadcasting video from their phone to the person calling them.
Apple was forced to disable Group FaceTime after the issue went public earlier 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,” Apple said in a statement shared with TheWrap on Friday.
The company also acknowledged Arizona lawyer Michele Thompson in its statement, thanking her after her 14-year-old son spotted the bug while playing “Fortnite” with his friends. Thompson attempted to contact Apple to bring the bug to the company’s attention multiple times, including filing an official bug report and faxing a letter.
“We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug,” Apple said. “We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this process.”
The FaceTime flaw came after Apple spent much of the last year championing itself as the tech giant that truly cares about user privacy. Apple chief Tim Cook even chided Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year over its massive data leak, saying he “wouldn’t be in this position” if he were Zuckerberg.
Still, the bug had no impact on the company’s stock. Apple shares increased 8 percent this week, after the company reported record quarterly Services revenue, helping offset a 15 percent decline in iPhone sales.