Apple disables Walkie-Talkie app due to snooping vulnerability

The feature has been disabled while Apple fixes the bug.

Apple has temporarily disabled the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch due to a vulnerability that could allow someone to eavesdrop on an iPhone without the owner's consent.

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Apple issued the following statement to TechCrunch:

We were just made aware of a vulnerability related to the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch and have disabled the function as we quickly fix the issue. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore the functionality as soon as possible. Although we are not aware of any use of the vulnerability against a customer and specific conditions and sequences of events are required to exploit it, we take the security and privacy of our customers extremely seriously. We concluded that disabling the app was the right course of action as this bug could allow someone to listen through another customer's iPhone without consent.  We apologize again for this issue and the inconvenience.

Apple disabled the feature server-side without notifying users, so if you're a user of this feature and you were wondering why it had stopped working, now you know.

The Walkie-Talkie app, introduced in watchOS 5, allows Apple Watch owners to communicate with one another similar to the old physical walkie talkies.

There's no word on when the feature will be reactivated, and there's no clear indication as to whether the bug is client-side on the device or a server-side issue.  

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