Anyone Can Spy on You With FaceTime, Here's How to Turn It Off [Updated]

A new bug allows anyone to listen in on your iPhone and, for now, there's no fix.
An iPhone and the FaceTime app.
Image: Shutterstock

Update 1/29/19, 10:00 EST: After the publication of this guide, Apple announced that it has disabled group FaceTime altogether, presumably while it works on a permanent fix. The original article follows.

A new creepy flaw in Apple’s popular video and audio call app FaceTime allows the caller to listen in on the receiver’s iPhone, even if that person has not picked up the call, according to multiple news reports and users who claims they have experienced the bug.


The bug allows someone who calls another person to hear the audio from the iPhone or Mac of the person they’re calling by adding yourself to the call. Here’s how 9 to 5 Mac, one of the first publications to report and reproduce the bug, explained it:

  • Start a FaceTime Video call with an iPhone contact.
  • Whilst the call is dialling, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap Add Person.
  • Add your own phone number in the Add Person screen.
  • You will then start a group FaceTime call including yourself and the audio of the person you originally called, even if they haven’t accepted the call yet.

Motherboard's editor Jason Koebler was able to reproduce the bug by calling me and listening in from my microphone. Strangely not only could Jason listen to me but I could listen to him despite the fact that I did not answer his FaceTime call.

Apple told Buzzfeed that it’s working on a fix for later this week. But in the meantime, you may want to avoid using FaceTime and disable it completely. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Luckily, that’s incredibly easy.

Go to your iPhone settings, scroll down or search for FaceTime and switch the toggle to gray. On MacOs, open the FaceTime app, click “FaceTime” in the menu, and then click “Turn off FaceTime.”

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