A bug was discovered this week that poses a significant privacy threat to all iPhone users. It allows the initiator of a FaceTime call to hear the recipient’s background audio before they accept or decline the call, essentially creating an opportunity to eavesdrop on unsuspecting users. It has also been reported that steps could be taken to secretly transmit the video footage of a caller as well.
To avoid running into this issue and inadvertently exposing any information, you should disable FaceTime until the bug gets fixed (reportedly by later this week). To do this, simply go to your settings, scroll until you can select the FaceTime menu, and toggle it off. This can easily be undone by following the same steps once the issue has been resolved.
Obviously, this raises some serious skepticism regarding the value Apple places on its users’ privacy. Secure communication platforms like Signal offer a viable alternative to the messaging/call interfaces native to your phone. It might be worth not reactivating FaceTime even once the issue has been resolved, and prioritizing the use of apps that demonstrably value your privacy.
For more information about the bug, click here to see CNN’s reporting.