Cupertino giant Apple has acknowledged a serious flaw within its FaceTime software that permits brief eavesdropping even before the recipient picks up the call. In some shocking cases, the target iPhone would send video without their knowledge. Apple is readying a software update to roll out later in the week which will fix the issue.
9to5Mac first discovered and reported the issue, which seems to occur only when both users are running iOS version 12.1 or newer. According to the report, the issue is triggered by FaceTime's group chat function, which then goes to activate the recipient's microphone even before he or she accepts the call. It continues to expose your audio as long as your iPhone rings.
However, the issue only seems to occur with Group FaceTime. Meanwhile, Apple has taken Group FaceTime offline in an attempt to address the issue. What could be disturbing is that recipients don't come across any indication when their audio is exposed to a person on the other end.
9to5Mac demonstrated what triggers the issue. According to them, the issue occurs when a video call is dialing to a person on your contact, followed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and tapping "Add Person."
"Add your own phone number in the Add Person screen. You will then 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," reports 9to5Mac.
The problem also persists with an iPhone user calling a Mac user, which is even more worrisome given the fact that it a Mac rings longer than an iPhone.