Apple releases iOS 12.1.4 to fix Group FaceTime eavesdropping flaw

Apple has finally dropped iOS 12.1.4 to fix the Group FaceTime bug that left some users open to eavesdropping. 

The fix, which Apple users have been waiting for well over a week, is available to download and install now from the Software Updates section of the Settings app.

Apple had been forced to pull the Group FaceTime feature after it emerged participants within a call were able to hear and even see others invited to the chat before they’d even answered their phones.

The incident damaged Apple’s hard-earned reputation as a privacy-focused company, especially after it emerged the firm was warned well before it acknowledged the flaw. A 14-year-old iPhone user had initially spotted the glaring privacy gap, which had been reported via his parents. However, it took media attention for Apple to go public.

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It’s still not clear how long the security loophole had existed prior to Apple’s intervention, but Group FaceTime was introduced in iOS 12.1 way back in December.

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Initially, Apple had promised a fix before the end of last week, but the update was delayed The company has said it will commit to improving the way it deals with bug reports in light of the criticism it has received.

In a statement, Apple wrote:  “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.”

Were you affected by the Group FaceTime bug? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.