Apple Pulls FaceTime Group Calling Over Microphone Eavesdropping

On Monday Apple pulled down access to its FaceTime group calling feature amidst reports of a potential eavesdropping issue. The bug allowed users to add someone to a FaceTime group call and, even if the recipient didn’t accept the call, give them access to hear everything from the recipients microphone.

To do this, users would have to start a new FaceTime video call with the person they wanted to listen to. Then as the call was being initialized, they would then have to select the “add person” option, and instead of adding someone else, insert their own number instead. At which point, regardless of whether the user you called accepted the call or not, you’d be able to listen to any audio picked up by their microphone.

Although Apple has officially changed the status of FaceTime to “issue” on its System Status page, likely disabling the feature server side, some users are reporting that it’s still possible to take advantage of the bug. As an advisory it’s worth, for the time being at least, completely disabling FaceTime where you can across iPhone, Mac and iPads.

To disable FaceTime, go to Settings, then to FaceTime, and switch the toggle to off, or on a desktop like device, open the FaceTime app, and disable it from the settings there.

Zak Storey

As Associate Editor of Tom's Hardware's prestigous British division, Zak specializes in system building, case reviews and peripherals, and has a particular penchant for liquid-cooling. He's also a lover of all things Viking/Scandinavian (thus the poor attempt at a beard).