Apple disables Walkie-Talkie feature for flaw that could allow eavesdropping


Apple disabled the Walkie-Talkie feature of its Apple Watch after discovering it could be used to eavesdrop on iPhone owners.

In a statement, Apple said it wasn’t aware of anyone exploiting the security flaw against an iPhone owner, but disabled the feature as a precaution because it “allow[ed] someone to listen through another customer’s iPhone without consent.”

It is unclear exactly what the bug was, with Apple disclosing only that “specific conditions and sequences of events are required to exploit it.”

Although the app will still appear on Apple Watch devices, it will not be functional until the vulnerability is patched over.

Apple introduced Walkie-Talkie in September, pitching it as a “fun and easy way to quickly get in touch with friends and family.”

Users are able to send each other short, recorded snippets of audio with the push of a button.

This is the second time this year that the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant has had to fix a privacy-related bug.

In January, Apple disabled its Face­Time group video-calling app because of a security flaw — pointed out to the company by a 14-year-old customer — that allowed callers to activate other users’ microphones remotely.

Apple shares ended Thursday’s trading down by $1.48, to $201.75.