Apple's iOS 12.1.4 Update to Fix FaceTime Eavesdropping Bug Showing Up in Analytics

Apple's upcoming fix for the FaceTime eavesdropping bug that was discovered on Monday will come in the form of an iOS 12.1.4 update, according to MacRumors analytics data.

We began seeing a handful of visits from devices running an iOS 12.1.4 update on January 29, the day after the bug was widely publicized and spread across the internet.


Apple on Monday said that a software fix for the issue would come "later this week," but now that it's Thursday, there's not a lot of time left. Apple could still release the update later today, but if not, Friday morning is the likely target launch date.

The FaceTime eavesdropping bug allowed iPhone users to exploit a privacy-invading Group ‌FaceTime‌ flaw that let one person connect to another person and hear conversations (and see video, in some cases) without the other person ever having accepted the call.

The ‌FaceTime‌ bug in action

Apple has put a stop to the ‌FaceTime‌ bug by disabling Group ‌FaceTime‌ server side, leaving the feature unavailable, but questions remain about how long the bug was accessible and how long Apple knew about it before attempting a fix.

The mother of the teenager who originally discovered the bug shared convincing evidence that she contacted the Cupertino company as early as January 20. She did not receive a response from Apple despite sending emails and a video.

It's not clear, therefore, when the right team at Apple learned of the bug and when work on a fix was started. We did not see signs of iOS 12.1.4 in our analytics data prior to January 29, but it's possible Apple was working on a fix earlier than that.

The multi-day wait for an official solution to perhaps one of the worst Apple-related privacy bugs we've seen, however, does suggest that development on iOS 12.1.4 did not start too far ahead of when the bug went public.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
23 months ago

I'm sorry Apple, but QA didn't try hard enough to break it. With a feature this sensitive, it is necessary to have a couple of employees trying to break things all day every day. I know not every bug can be discovered in time, but obvious ones like this should be caught before release.

I disagree. This was an edge case bug. In fact it took a long while before millions of users had been using group FaceTime before it came to light.

It certainly wasn't an 'obvious' bug.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
It's about time. I tried the bug out on a friend and the results were… eye-opening. :(



Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago

Adding another person to the call is a documented function. So adding yourself to the call is a boundary condition. If it only takes two steps to reproduce the bug, then it should have been discovered. If it took 10 steps, then I would say it wouldn't be an obvious one. Either way, this family deserves to get a reward.

This is an embarrassing bug, but clearly you’ve never developed a piece of software, have you?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
Does anyone else know of a more friendly Apple site with other friendly actual Apple enthusiasts? Seriously, for as long as I've lurked on here it's all negative people who are Apple haters commenting. Pointless to be on here anymore. All this negative news is hardly "rumors".
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago
I'm sorry Apple, but QA didn't try hard enough to break it. With a feature this sensitive, it is necessary to have a couple of employees trying to break things all day every day. I know not every bug can be discovered in time, but obvious ones like this should be caught before release.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
23 months ago

I'm sorry Apple, but QA didn't try hard enough to break it. With a feature this sensitive, it is necessary to have a couple of employees trying to break things all day every day. I know not every bug can be discovered in time, but obvious ones like this should be caught before release.

Don't forget that this bug likely existed in the months of developer and public beta testing as well and wasn't discovered by users. If so, it wouldn't be fair to classify it as an "obvious" bug.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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