New vulnerability forces Apple to disable Walkie-Talkie on Apple Watch

  • New vulnerability forces Apple to disable Walkie-Talkie on Apple Watch

New vulnerability forces Apple to disable Walkie-Talkie on Apple Watch

If you have an Apple Watch, you'll find the app will remain on your device but it won't work until the fix has been issued.

It's unclear how the app can be abused to spy on someone's iPhone, but Apple says there's no evidence it was exploited in the wild. While we don't know the "specific conditions and sequences of events" a potential malicious agent could have employed to exploit the vulnerability against actual users, its nature sounds pretty scary.

This received a lot of attention when the watchOS 5 update was made available, supporting Series 1 through 4 Apple Watches and looking like a handy alternative for traditional voice calls and text messages, especially on GPS-only variants of the world's top-selling smartwatch family. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore the functionality as soon as possible.

Apparently, the flaw could have allowed a skilled enough hacker to "listen through another customer's iPhone without consent".

The Walkie-Talkie app is still installed on Apple Watch smartwatches, but calls will no longer go through.

Apple deactivated the Walkie-Talkie app on its Apple Watch after being alerted to a vulnerability that potentially left iPhones open to eavesdroppers. In the meantime, you'll just have to hold off on using this feature on your Apple Watch.

"We apologise again for this issue and the inconvenience".

This isn't the first time that an eavesdropping bug had been discovered in Apple's iOS software.

In January, it emerged that FaceTime Group Calling could be exploited to let snoopers listen in on an iPhone owner.

However, it appears to have acted much quicker with the Walkie-Talkie flaw. The bug affected the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple even took a dig at Google and Amazon with a giant data privacy billboard at January's CES 2019 tech convention.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.