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Wearable Tech

Apple disables Walkie-Talkie app over iPhone eavesdropping bug

An Apple Watch security vulnerability could have let people listen in on an iPhone conversation.

watchos-5-walkie-talkie-talk

The Apple Watch's Walkie-Talkie app has been disabled.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple deactivated the Walkie-Talkie app on its Apple Watch after being alerted to a vulnerability that potentially left iPhones open to eavesdroppers. The company confirmed the problem to TechCrunch and said it's working on a fix.

The Walkie-Talkie feature, which came with 2018's WatchOS 5, lets you press a button and talk, then hear another person's voice come back at you. Apple later made it easier to enable and disable, but for the moment it's unavailable.

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The bug was reported to Apple through its security portal, TechCrunch noted, but there's apparently no evidence that it was exploited before the company was alerted.

Apple didn't offer further comment.

It was the second security issue Apple reacted to this week -- it also removed a feature in the Zoom conferencing app over a flaw that allowed people's webcams to be turned on remotely. And Apple disabled its own Group FaceTime video chat service in January, after a Fortnite-playing teenager found a bug that could turn any iPhone into a hot mic.

First published at 2:07 a.m. PT.
Updated at 3 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.