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FaceTime Glitch Lets People Hear What You're Saying—Before You Even Answer

Photograph by Twenty20

Be honest: We've all had that moment when someone is attempting to FaceTime us, and we're just not in the mood for whatever reason so you mutter something like, "Ugh, not her," and decline to answer. Well, turns out, the other person may have heard you saying that even if you didn't pick up. Yeah, that's right: Oh crap.

9to5mac just revealed that a major FaceTime bug allowed people to listen in on your conversations without you even picking up the call. Your audio was immediately accessed, whether you accepted or rejected the incoming request.

According to the writer of the expose article, Benjamin Mayo, "This poses a pretty big privacy problem, as you can essentially listen in on any iOS user ... There is no indication on the recipient’s side that you could hear any of their audio. There’s a second part to this which can expose video too."

Before you panic and wonder who you could've possibly accidentally offended, this bug doesn't just automatically happen—there's a specific set of steps people had to take to make this happen.

First, the issue specifically only affected group FaceTime calls, which is a relatively new feature on the iPhone. Someone would have to dial your number from FaceTime, swipe up from the bottom and hit "Add Person." Then, they would have to add their own phone number to make the software think they were on a group call—this would allow automatically answer the call on your behalf and share your audio, all without you knowing.

Twitter user Benji Mobb tried it out for himself and posted a video showing the world how it works:

According to USA Today, "Pressing the volume or power button on the recipient's iPhone, which is usually used to silence or dismiss an incoming call, will also turn on the camera with this glitch, allowing the caller to activate your camera."

The glitch can happen on any iPhone or iPad currently using iOS 12.1 or later, which contains the Group FaceTime feature.

Apple has since disabled Group FaceTime until it comes up with a system fix, but if you're still not feeling secure, here's how to disable FaceTime on your own:

1. Go to Settings.

2. Scroll down to FaceTime.

3. Click FaceTime to the off position (the little circle should be white). That means it's deactivated. If it's green, it's still active.

And, you know, just to be safe, don't talk smack about Grandma if she FaceTimes the kids anytime soon.

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