Apple's Walkie-Talkie Apple Watch App Works Again Following iOS 12.4 and watchOS 5.3 Release

Nearly two weeks ago, Apple disabled the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch after discovering a bug that could allow the feature to be used to eavesdrop on others.

At the time, Apple said that it had just learned of the vulnerability and was taking the app offline while working on a fix. That fix is ready today in both iOS 12.4 and watchOS 5.3, which means the Walkie-Talkie app is once again available for use.


When disabling the Walkie-Talkie app, Apple didn't pull it off of Apple Watches, leaving the app intact but rendering it non-functional. Today's software updates fix the vulnerability and bring the app back online.


Walkie-Talkie was one of the headline features in watchOS 5, released last September. Walkie-Talkie is designed to allow users to communicate with one another using a push to talk function, similar to a real walkie-talkie.

Apple said that it did not believe that the vulnerability in Walkie-Talkie was exploited to spy on anyone, but disabled the feature out of an abundance of caution.

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.

Apple was quick to take down the Walkie-Talkie app as it suffered from another eavesdropping bug recently that received major media attention. A serious Group FaceTime bug was discovered back in January, and when exploited, it allowed callers to hear a user's audio even when the call had not been accepted.

In that situation, Apple did not remove the Group FaceTime feature until it had been publicized, despite the person who discovered the bug having submitted a report days before. Apple fixed the Group ‌FaceTime‌ bug after a week and a half, addressing it in iOS 12.1.4.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
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Top Rated Comments

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16 months ago
I remember when everyone in my area had NexTel and walked around using their phones as walkie talkies. It was super annoying.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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16 months ago
Except if you have a 10k Apple Watch gold edition.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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16 months ago

I always hear this, but I've never had an issue with it not working

I use it all the time but it frequently just fails to find the other user, or doesn't send the first message in a sequence.
[doublepost=1563821702][/doublepost]

Except if you have a 10k Apple Watch gold edition.

You mean the $400 Watch inside a $9,600 gold case? Anyone with a little bit of intelligence would've seen this coming.

No one bought at 10k gold Apple Watch thinking: "I really hope this gets software updates so I get my money's worth"
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago

Except if you have a 10k Apple Watch gold edition.

Yeah, Beyoncé is probably worried to death about that.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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16 months ago
Good, we can all go back to being Dick Tracy.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
16 months ago
I wonder if they already applied this same patch into the newest iOS 13 beta public/Dev builds.

I only have the iPad OS13 developer beta installed as the previous version were too buggy to have on the watch and iPhone IMHO, so unaware if the watch and iPhone beta version had this update or not.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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