ICYMI: Apple's FaceTime Bug

There is a major glitch in Apple’s new iPhone update. Apparently, when you receive a FaceTime call and you don’t pick up, it is possible that the caller could still hear through your microphone as if you did pick up. It is being called one of the worst, most intrusive bugs in iPhone history.

The bug is a problem with a new feature they recently added: Group FaceTime. Apple has since disabled Group FaceTime until they fix the bug, but before they disabled the new feature, anyone who had updated to iOS 12.1 could have been affected by the problem. So how exactly does this bug work?

If you try to Group FaceTime someone and then add yourself to the call, you can hear through the other person’s microphone and sometimes even see through their camera without them picking up. 14-year-old Grant Thompson discovered the bug when he tried to use the Group FaceTime feature with his friends. His mother reported the bug to Apple immediately, but Apple’s reaction to the report was not as prompt. His mother tried to contact the company several times before she ever even got a response. The company thanked the Thompson's in an apology statement.

Apple's full apology statement courtesy of CNBC:

“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. We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug. 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.

We want to assure our customers that as soon as our engineering team became aware of the details necessary to reproduce the bug, they quickly disabled Group FaceTime and began work on the fix. We are committed to improving the process by which we receive and escalate these reports, in order to get them to the right people as fast as possible. We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”

Apple released iOS 12.1.4. on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. The update is meant to fix the FaceTime bug, as promised by the company in their apology statement, as well as fix a possible problem with the Live Photo feature of Group FaceTime.

YouTuber Shane Dawson recently uploaded a conspiracy video including iPhone conspiracies. In the first segment, which took place in early December, one of Dawson's friends received a phone call from his mother. His mother claimed that she could hear what her son was saying before he even answered the phone. While this appeared to be a regular phone call and not a FaceTime, it may be possible that the impacts of the bug were further reaching than we thought.

It is so scary to think about the possible effects of this bug. Not only is it a major breach of privacy to Apple users, but it is also very concerning to think about if there are other bugs that no one has found yet. How much do we really know about the devices we are using, and what is the true cost of the convenience we keep in our back pockets?