Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

A security bug in Apple’s FaceTime lets people snoop on others

January 29, 2019

The tech giant has now disabled the Group FaceTime capability on its video-calling service in a bid to fix the problem.
The news: A report in 9to5 Mac revealed the existence of a security flaw in Apple’s popular video-calling service. The bug lets you call anyone with FaceTime and immediately receive audio from their phone before they’ve accepted or rejected the incoming call. 
The security hole: Anyone starting a FaceTime video call with an iPhone contact could swipe up from the bottom of the screen while the call was dialing and tap “Add Person.” By adding their own phone number and then starting a group FaceTime call, they could hear audio from the other person’s phone before the call had been accepted or rejected. 9to5Mac claims it also found that if the person being called pressed the power button on their lock screen as a call came in, video from their phone would also be sent to the caller without the user’s knowledge.
Privacy nightmare: Apple prides itself on protecting users’ privacy, so this is deeply embarrassing for the company. Its move to disable Group FaceTime may solve the problem, but to be on the safe side, you should go to settings and disable FaceTime on your devices until Apple has issued a software update to fix the security issue.

(For more stories like this, why not sign up for our daily newsletter, The Download.)

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.