Apple Temporarily Disables Walkie-Talkie App for Apple Watch Due to Eavesdropping Vulnerability

Apple has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app for Apple Watch due to a bug that could allow users to eavesdrop on others, reports TechCrunch.


The company issued a statement noting that it was just notified about the vulnerability and has temporarily disabled the Walkie-Talkie functionality while a fix is developed. The Walkie-Talkie app will remain installed on users' Apple Watches, but it will not be functional until the fix is deployed.

Apple's statement:

We were just made aware of a vulnerability related to the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch and have disabled the function as we quickly fix the issue. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore the functionality as soon as possible. Although we are not aware of any use of the vulnerability against a customer and specific conditions and sequences of events are required to exploit it, we take the security and privacy of our customers extremely seriously. We concluded that disabling the app was the right course of action as this bug could allow someone to listen through another customer’s iPhone without consent. We apologize again for this issue and the inconvenience.

Walkie-Talkie debuted last fall in watchOS 5, and it allows users to easily communicate with each other via voice from their wrists using a push-to-talk function.


As TechCrunch points out, the issue is reminiscent of a serious Group FaceTime bug discovered early this year that could allow callers to hear a user's audio without the call being accepted. In that scenario, Apple remotely disabled Group FaceTime once the issue was discovered, and pushed out an emergency bug fix a week and a half later as part of iOS 12.1.4.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
16 months ago
Toxic comments as usual. This is a standard process when a critical bug is found. No company is bug-free even if you have a robust QA process in place. Anybody who worked in a bit more complex software development can relate to this, often you find bugs that could have been in the code for years.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago
I’ve honestly never used the feature. None of friends or peers use it either. Is anybody else not missing this?
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Is Apple becoming the new Microsoft of old? Bug ridden software, slowly being hacked away. Even the official statement contradicts itself. What is going on over there?

Using the phrase bug ridden software is just hyperbolic IMHO.

They found a bug, they temporarily disabled an app to prevent issues, they’re fixing it.

Sounds ok to me.

I wonder if other manufacturers would fix an equivalent bug so quickly?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Is Apple becoming the new Microsoft of old? Bug ridden software, slowly being hacked away. Even the official statement contradicts itself. What is going on over there?

No. Things happen, billion dollar companies have imperfect humans.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Is Apple becoming the new Microsoft of old? Bug ridden software, slowly being hacked away. Even the official statement contradicts itself. What is going on over there?

What the heck are you talking about? They found a vulnerability and instead of letting people be exposed, they shut it off. Thereby protecting users. This is a good thing and something we WANT them to do. How you could spin this as something bad is beyond me
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Toxic comments as usual. This is a standard process when a critical bug is found. No company is bug-free even if you have a robust QA process in place. Anybody who worked in a bit more complex software development can relate to this, often you find bugs that could have been in the code for years.

And disabling the feature until the fix is released is the right thing to do. Hopefully a new watchOS version will be released early next week and walkie talkie will be live again
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of 3rd party widgets at launch, iOS users around the...

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

AirPods Studio Rumored to Come With U1 Chip, Ultra-Wideband Said to Be Vital to Future Apple Ecosystem

Sunday September 20, 2020 6:17 am PDT by
Proven leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared a range of information about the ultra-wideband U1 chip in Apple's upcoming AirTags item trackers and AirPods Studio headphones. The first of a series of tweets shared today simply stated that AirPods Studio will contain an ultra-wideband U1 chip. It seems likely that the U1 chip would be used in AirPods Studio to track the location of...

Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

Sunday September 20, 2020 10:00 pm PDT by
Increased competition among Apple's suppliers for mini-LED display chips will accelerate the company's adoption of the advanced technology in its iPad and MacBook lineups, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics...

Top Stories: Apple Event Recap, Apple Watch Series 6, Redesigned iPad Air, and More

Saturday September 19, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
This week's news was obviously dominated by Apple's media event and the launch of iOS 14, but there was a lot to digest, so check out our summary below for the high-level view of the past week. With the exception of the massively redesigned iPad Air, all of the new hardware introduced this week is starting to appear on store shelves and on customers' doorsteps, while all of the new software...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...