Apple FaceTime bug lets you listen to people who call you, even if they do not answer

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January 29, 2019, 5:37 GMT / Source: CNBC.com

By Todd Haselton, CNBC

There is a FaceTime error that allows you to hear someone else's iPhone even if it has not answered your phone call. It was previously reported on Twitter by user Benji Mobb and covered by 9to5Mac.

CNBC has tested it and has determined that it is a real bug. I tried to place a video call on my editor from my iPhone using Apple's FaceTime app. Then I used the menu option to add someone else to the call and, as the instructions from 9to5Mac indicate, I added myself to the call. Suddenly I could hear my editor, although he never recorded it. We continued to have a conversation while his phone only allowed him to answer. There was no indication that the call had already come through.

The edge of the distance noticed that if the person you're calling tries to end by tapping the on / off button on their phone, this video does not send audio. This means that the person you are calling can see a video of you or your environment as if you answered the call. I replicated this with a friend.

This bug seems to be based on the FaceTime Group Call function, because you are trying to add another person to the call. Group FaceTime was launched last year.

There is clearly a big privacy issue here. In theory, you could call anyone with FaceTime and, through the steps above, listen to their conversations.

Apple said there will be a solution this week. "We are aware of this problem and we have found a solution that will appear in a software update later this week," a spokesman told CNBC.

In the meantime, the fastest solution is to turn FaceTime off. Here is how:

  • Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Choose FaceTime
  • Turn off FaceTime.