UPDATE: 12:15 a.m. ET -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has released a statement warning New Yorkers of the Apple FaceTime bug. 

"In light of this bug, I advise New Yorkers to disable their FaceTime app until a fix is made available."

Original Story:

The latest Apple FaceTime bug discovered allows users to listen to a person’s audio even if they haven't picked up to join a group call. Apple already acknowledged the problem and vowed to release a fix later this week.

The exploit allowed people to call anyone on FaceTime and get access to their microphone feed even before the person accepts or rejects the call. This poses a privacy problem for many iOS users, and several outlets have already exposed it.

For example, 9to5Mac, who reported the issue going viral on Twitter, tried reproducing the exploit. The FaceTime bug works as follows:

  • You start a FaceTime video call with another iPhone
  • While calling or before the person picks up, swipe up from the bottom then Add Person (or your phone number) to the call. This starts a group call with you and the audio of the person contacted even without them accepting it.

The outlet added that as for concerns with an iPhone calling a Mac, the problem also persists. The Mac will ring longer than the iPhone, so the bug may let people eavesdrop longer.

Additionally, as the "fake" conference call is ongoing, one can get access to the recipient’s video if they hit the volume or power button to ignore the request.

9to5Mac replicated the FaceTime bug using an iPhone X calling an iPhone XR. On the other hand, the Verge reproduced the exploit using iPhones running 12.1.2. CNBC also tested it and confirmed that the bug is real.

CNBC further noted that when there are three people in the group and another person has been added without their knowledge, the conversation can continue in the conference call without the person, yet to be added, being aware at all. In fact, in the outlet’s experiment, the staff continued having the call without the editor knowing about it. The editor’s phone only gave him the option to answer.

"We're aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.

 The news about the bug first went viral on Twitter.

9to5Mac has confirmed, however, that Apple has taken Group FaceTime offline for the time being.

For now, iPhone users are advised to do the following to avoid the bug:

  • Open Settings on the iOS device
  • Select FaceTime
  • Toggle FaceTime to off