A bug in Apple’s FaceTime video-calling application allows a caller to hear audio on the receiving end before the call is actually answered.
Considered a major privacy issue, many users fear that this could be used for malicious intent because you can essentially eavesdrop on another iOS user before they have a chance to answer the call. There is also no way for the recipient to know this is happening unless specifically informed by the caller. The same issue has even been picked up when making a FaceTime call is made to a Mac.
9to5Mac details instructions on how to use the bug on purpose:
- Start a FaceTime Video call with an iPhone
- While dialling, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap “Add Person”.
- Add yourself in the “Add Person” screen.
- This will start a group FaceTime call including yourself and the audio of the person you originally called, even if they haven’t accepted the call yet.
During tests, 9to5Mac uncovered that it was also possible to share video if the recipient presses the Power button from the lock screen. There have also been instances of video being shared without any kind of prompt.
As a company that has shown a real dedication to protecting its users’ privacy, this kind of bug is a detriment to Apple’s good standing with its customers. Apple has since disabled Group FaceTime to try and limit the chance of this happening, but it is still possible until stated otherwise. It should be fixed in a software update later in the week, but FaceTime can be disabled in the meantime if you are concerned.