Yesterday was not a good day for Apple as users discovered one of the worst privacy bugs in the history of the company. The bug relates to the group calling feature on FaceTime which was released with iOS 12 and macOS Mojave update. The bug allows people to listen to audio from FaceTime calls even when the other person does not pick up the call.
In fact, if the person on the other side pressed the power button or the volume button to mute the call, FaceTime also started relaying video from the front camera. The way you could activate the bug was by calling someone on FaceTime and then adding yourself to the call using the group call feature. You can see a demonstration of the bug by YouTuber “Brandon Butch” in the video linked below.
The story was first broken by some users on social media platforms which was then picked up by all the media outlets. While the bug is a big blemish on Apple’s privacy honed image, I am really happy with how the company handled the entire fiasco. First, Apple acknowledged the bug and said it will be releasing an update to fix the bug in a few days.
The company also took its FaceTime group calling feature offline so no nefarious people can take benefit of the bug until the fix is released. While it would be great if this didn’t happen, bugs happen and I like the approach that Apple is taking here. if you didn’t follow the news in the past 24 hours and were wondering why group calling is not working on FaceTime, now you know the reason.