Apple said Friday morning that it had a fix for a bug discovered this week in FaceTime, Apple’s video and audio chat service, which had allowed callers to access the microphone and front-facing video camera of the person they were calling, even if that person hadn’t picked up. The security issue is fixed on its servers, the company said, but the iPhone software update to reenable the feature for users won’t be rolled out until next week.
“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,” Apple said in an emailed statement to BuzzFeed News. “We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug. We sincerely apologize 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.”
A video showing the series of steps required to trigger the bug had gone viral on Twitter and Snapchat earlier this week. Subsequently, a test by BuzzFeed News confirmed that both an iPhone’s front-facing video camera, in addition to the microphone, could be accessed.
The privacy issue first came into the spotlight after reports that a 14-year-old from Arizona and his mother tried to contact Apple for days about the bug, but the company at the time had been unresponsive to their reports.
“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,” Apple said in its statement. “We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”