How to disable FaceTime (so no one can eavesdrop on your iPhone or Mac)

An Apple FaceTime bug can let callers hear and see you, even if you don't accept the call. Here's how to protect yourself until there's a permanent fix.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
2 min read

Social media lit up on Monday with reports that a bug with FaceTime had the potential to turn any iPhone or Mac into a hot mic

First reported by 9to5Mac and confirmed by CNET, the bug lets an iPhone user start a FaceTime call and -- by adding their own number to the call when the phone is ringing -- hear audio coming from the recipient's phone, even before the recipient has accepted the call. Even more alarmingly, if the recipient rejects the incoming call with the power button on their iPhone, it will transmit video from their camera. 

You can read all about the bug here.

On Monday afternoon,  Apple told CNET it was working on a fix for the bug which is due out in a software update "later this week." 

Late on Monday night, Apple's System Status page had been updated showing Group FaceTime as "temporarily unavailable." We weren't able to recreate the bug after this, so hopefully the problem has been solved until the software update can be released. 

But if you're feeling concerned (or if your friends keep starting FaceTime calls because they want to prank you), here's how to disable FaceTime on your devices. 


You may want to disable FaceTime if you don't want to fall victim to Apple's new bug. 


On iPhone or iPad

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down to the option for FaceTime
  3. Toggle the switch to the left so FaceTime is deactivated (the switch will turn from green to gray)

On Mac

  1. Open the FaceTime application on your Mac (you can find see it in your Finder window, listed under Applications)
  2. Click on the FaceTime menu in the top menu bar
  3. Select the third option, Turn FaceTime Off

To sign out of FaceTime on Mac altogether

  1. Open the FaceTime application on your Mac
  2. Click on the FaceTime menu in the top menu bar
  3. Select the second option for Preferences
  4. Click Sign Out

First published, Jan. 28 at 7:43 p.m. PT.
Update, 9:05 p.m. PT: Adds that Group FaceTime is no longer available.

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