Grant Thompson, a high school student was chatting with his friends when he discovered this bug. Thompson called his friend, Nathan via FaceTime, who didn’t answer. He swiped up and added another friend, which helped him instantly connect with Nathan, whose phone was still ringing. This was a shocking discovery for the 14-year old.
The bug discovered and reported by Thomson is a major privacy issue as conversations at the other end are open when the person hasn’t even answered the call. Following the report, Apple has instantly disabled the ‘Group FaceTime’ feature. The company has assured to issue a software update to fix the bug. The widespread news has shocked Apple users as the company is known for its focus on security issues.
The Cupertino-based tech giant has positioned itself as a brand known which is quite serious about security. The news comes at an unfortunate time when the company reported its quarterly earnings on Tuesday. Apple CEO Tim Cook has recently taken a swipe at technology leaders, most noticeably Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for failing to take steps for safe use of their platforms
Despite Thompson’s multiple attempts to reach out to Apple, the company did not respond to his initial requests. He was later asked to open a Developer account and report the bug which he did and didn’t hear back from the company. The investigation against Apple over this issue is backed by the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. In a media statement, Cuomo said, “We need a full accounting of the facts to confirm businesses are abiding by New York consumer protection laws and to help make sure this type of privacy breach does not happen again.”
The feature was introduced in iOS 12.1 in October 2018. The Group FaceTime allows up to 32 users to join the same video call on iOS and Mac devices.