- The latest software update for iPhones and iPads re-enables Group FaceTime.
- The feature was turned off last week after a flaw was discovered that would let people eavesdrop on other people’s iPhones before they picked up the FaceTime call.
- The privacy flaw has led to investigations, class action lawsuits, and a congressional inquiry.
- To update your iPhone, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update.
Apple has released iOS 12.1.4, the latest update of the software that powers iPhones and iPads.
This is a minor update, but it’s notable because it re-enables Group FaceTime after a nasty bug was publicized last week.
The bug was viewed as a major privacy flaw. It let anyone listen in on an iPhone’s microphone even if they declined a FaceTime call.
“iOS 12.1.4 provides important security updates and is recommended for all users,” according to the notes provided with the update.
In response to public outrage, Apple disabled the feature on its servers last week. This update re-enables the Group FaceTime feature, which enables users to videoconference with a group of people.
The update comes 10 days after the bug was initially publicized, although some reports said that a teenager and his mother had submitted the issue to Apple earlier in January.
The bug has even drawn calls for investigations from officials like New York Attorney General Letitia James. Earlier this week, two congressmen sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook with questions including when Apple learned of the issue, the impact of the flaw, and if there are “other undisclosed bugs.”
The update also included an additional fix for an unreleated flaw in FaceTime that was discovered as part of a security audit.
To download the iOS update, simply navigate your iPhone to Settings > General > Software Update.
Apple apologised for the bug last Friday:
“We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple’s servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week. We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug. We sincerely apologise to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this process.
“We want to assure our customers that as soon as our engineering team became aware of the details necessary to reproduce the bug, they quickly disabled Group FaceTime and began work on the fix. We are committed to improving the process by which we receive and escalate these reports, in order to get them to the right people as fast as possible. We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”
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