Tech

Apple fixes Watch bug that let someone eavesdrop on your conversation

Key Points
  • Apple reactivated a Walkie-Talkie feature, 12 days after it was turned off for security reasons. 
  • The Walkie-Talkie feature enables people to directly contact another Apple Watch user through their watch, and was introduced last fall. 
  • Apple deactivated the Walkie-Talkie feature on the Apple Watch earlier this month after it was discovered that there was a security flaw that could enable an attacker to eavesdrop on an iPhone without permission.
Apple Watch updates at the 2019 Apple WWDC In San Francisco.
Source: Apple

Apple reactivated the Walkie-Talkie feature on Monday in software updates for the iPhone and Apple Watch, 12 days after it was turned off for security reasons.

Apple deactivated the Walkie-Talkie feature on the Apple Watch earlier this month after it was discovered that there was a security flaw that could enable an attacker to eavesdrop on an iPhone without permission.

iOS 12.4 "includes a security fix for the Walkie-Talkie app on Apple Watch and re-enables Walkie-Talkie functionality," according to the software release notes. The Apple Watch release notes said it "provides important security updates including a fix for the Walkie-Talkie app."

Apple said earlier this month that it did not know of any people using the bug against any of its customers, and that it required "specific conditions" to be replicated, which Apple did not disclose. The security flaw was reported through Apple's website, the company said, and Apple proactively disabled the feature until it could be fixed.

Walkie-Talkie had been unavailable since July 10, according to Apple's system status dashboard. The feature enables people to directly contact another Apple Watch user through their watch, and was introduced last fall.

Earlier this year, an iPhone bug was found that allowed someone with an iPhone to place a FaceTime call to another iPhone and listen through the microphone, even if the other person hadn't picked up the call. Apple fixed that bug and apologized to customers.

The iPhone software update, iOS 12.4, also includes a new feature that allows people to transfer data wirelessly from one iPhone to another as well as improvements to Apple News.

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