Apple releases update to prevent FaceTime eavesdropping

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A teen in Arizona discovered that a FaceTime user could follow a series of steps that would allow them to turn on the microphone of the iPhone they were calling and listen in without that person even knowing.

Apple iOS 12.1.4 hit users' devices this afternoon. Cupertino blames the problem on "a logic the handling of Group FaceTime calls". Apple was quick to disable the Group FaceTime issue within hours after it was widely publicised.

In release notes for the update, Apple credits the discovery of the flaw to Grant Thompson of Catalina Foothills High School and Daven Morris of Arlington, Texas.

In a statement obtained by Business Insider, Apple confirmed the update and said it also conducted a "thorough security audit of the FaceTime service and made additional updates to both the FaceTime app and server to improve security".

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So if your phone seems sluggish after iOS 12.1.3 upgrade and if you wish to downgrade back to a lower version, it seems you simply can not as Apple has blocked it. Macs are also getting an updated version of macOS 10.14.3 to fix the Group FaceTime flaw, as this feature is also built into that platform.

It looks like Apple will compensate the 14-year-old who uncovered the now fixed FaceTime Group chat security flaw.

Following the release of these patches, the system status page on Apple's website has also been updated to reflect the situation.

To update an iPhone or iPad, head to Settings General Software Update on your iPhone or iPad and install the update. You will need Wi-Fi access and your battery to be charged above 50 percent, or the device will need to be connected to a charger.