Apple removes FaceTime group calling as it tries to fix spying bug

Key Points
  • A bug in FaceTime lets you listen in to the audio if you try to call someone -- even if they don't pick up.
  • You first video call someone then try to add yourself to the group call.
  • Now Apple has temporarily disabled the FaceTime group feature.

Apple disabled the group calling feature in its FaceTime calling service late on Monday evening, as it furiously tries to remedy a bug that allowed eavesdropping.

Apple's status page now shows that Group FaceTime is "temporarily unavailable" as of 3:16 a.m. Tuesday London time (10:16 p.m. Monday ET).

Apple has taken its Group Facetime capability offline while it tries to fix a bug.

CNBC tested the bug on Monday that lets you hear the audio of the person you are calling before they accept the call. The issue was first reported by the Apple-related website 9to5Mac.

The bug appears to fool a call recipient's phone into thinking a group call, which involves more than two people, has already started. It then switches the recipient's microphone on without them ever having to accept or reject the call.

Despite the temporary removal of the group service, users of FaceTime are still able to continue using the one-to-one FaceTime function.

A spokesperson for Apple told CNBC Monday that a fix is coming this week. "We're aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week."

Apple announces group Facetime
Apple announces group Facetime