Bottom line: This is the second major eavesdropping bug Apple has dealt with this year but unlike the first, Apple appears to be getting out in front of this one before it morphs into a serious issue. No word yet on when a fix will be ready.
Apple has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app for the Apple Watch after learning of a vulnerability that could allow it to be used for eavesdropping purposes.
The Walkie-Talkie app was introduced last year with the launch of watchOS 5. As the name suggests, it enables push-to-talk functionality similar to what phones like those from Nextel and Motorola used to offer.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Apple said specific conditions and sequences of events could lead to someone listening through another customer’s iPhone without consent. Cupertino added that it is not aware of any use against a customer in the wild and that disabling the app was the right course of action.
Apple apologized for the inconvenience and said they are working to quickly fix the issue.
The Walkie-Talkie app will remain installed on devices but will not function until Apple fixes the vulnerability and re-enables it.
Back in January, a FaceTime bug was discovered that let users see and hear people on the other end of a call before they answered.