Apple disabled the Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app due to an unspecified vulnerability that could allow one person to listen to another customer's iPhone without approval.
Apple has apologized for the error and for the inconvenience of not being able to use the feature while a correction is being made.
With the walkie talkie app on Apple Watch, two users who have accepted an invitation from each other can receive audio chats via a push-to-talk interface reminiscent of the PTT buttons of older cell phones.
A statement from Apple reads:
Apple has been alerted directly to the flaw via its vulnerability portal, indicating that there is currently no evidence that it was exploited in the wild.
The company temporarily disables the feature completely until a fix can be made and provisioned for devices. The Walkie Talkie app remains installed on the devices, but does not work until it has been updated with the fix.
Earlier this year, an error was detected in FaceTime's group call feature, which allowed users to overhear a call. It turned out that the teenager who had discovered the mistake, Grant Thompson, had tried to contact Apple about the problem, but did not get an answer. Apple fixed the bug and eventually rewarded Thompson with a bug bounty. This time, Apple seems to monitor the reports that come in through its vulnerability tips more closely and has disabled the feature.
Apple released a Mac update earlier today to remove a feature of the Zoom conference app that circumvents Mac limitations for smoother call initiation. In addition, emails and websites could add users to an active video call without their permission.