Apple has disabled the group call feature within its FaceTime call service, while a patch is used to intercept a troublesome bug.
Apple's status page shows that group calls are "temporarily unavailable" through FaceTime – this is a stop-gap step as the company provides a permanent fix for the issue this week. It was not possible to set up a group call when we tried, because we were able to fix it and replicate it earlier.
If all is well, it means users will not have to completely disable FaceTime because of the bug, but it's understandable if some people are reluctant to turn them back on.
The vulnerability was discovered on Monday and is activated when a user initiates a group call, but adds himself as a participant, as we explained in our previous post: 1
Apple told us and other media that there will be a more permanent solution in the coming days.
"We know about this issue and we found an update that will be released later this week in a software update," a spokesperson said.
It is interesting to note that the group call function actually took longer than planned to arrive in iOS after a hiccup. It was added and then removed from the beta version of iOS 12 in August. However, it took some time for all users to be introduced. The feature was missing when iOS 12 was shipped to all in September. Instead, it was introduced with the introduction of iOS 12.1 in October. Apple has never given a reason for the delay.
The flaw is an embarrassing incident for Apple, which has long emphasized its focus on privacy as a company and within its products. This recently included a banner at CES that triumphantly proclaimed, "What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone."