Apple today released iOS 12.1.4 to fix the FaceTime bug that sprouted up last week and allowed just about anyone to access another user’s microphone and at times camera with a few simple steps.
Last Monday, reports began to come out that a FaceTime bug was letting iOS users make FaceTime calls and eavesdrop on them without their consent. All they had to do was add themselves to the call and they would instantly be able to hear and even see everything the person on the other line was doing even though they hadn’t answered yet.
As the story gained traction, Apple shut down Group FaceTime to prevent users from exploiting the bug as it fervently began working on a fix. Originally iOS 12.1.4 was slated to come out late last week but Apple pushed it back a week to get to update right. It’s a tall task to fix the software for million of devices on the fly and if a company isn’t careful, that could lead to even more egregious bugs.
Here’s Apple’s statement on the software upgrade:
“Today’s software update fixes the security bug in Group FaceTime. We again apologize to our customers and we thank them for their patience. In addition to addressing the bug that was reported, our team conducted a thorough security audit of the FaceTime service and made additional updates to both the FaceTime app and server to improve security. This includes a previously unidentified vulnerability in the Live Photos feature of FaceTime. To protect customers who have not yet upgraded to the latest software, we have updated our servers to block the Live Photos feature of FaceTime for older versions of iOS and macOS.”
The first person to report the bug was 14-year-old Grant Thompson whom Apple will reward with a Bug Bounty and an additional number to contribute towards his education.
Users who don’t have automatic updates turned on can go to Settings > General > Software Upgrade to install iOS 12.1.4. For more information, check out iMore‘s how to download iOS guide.
The bug will still be present in earlier versions of the iOS 12 so Apple is permanently keeping Group FaceTime shut down for the devices running older software. We recommend you upgrade as soon as possible.
Updated: Added Apple’s statement on iOS 12.1.4 software upgrade.