By Henry T. Casey
It's time to update iPhones, iPads and Macs, as Apple finally released a fix to its embarrassing Group FaceTime security flaw.
It took Apple longer to fix its major FaceTime security flaw than the company originally promised, but the anticipated software update just landed on iPhones, iPads and even the iPod touch. Available for download now, iOS 12.1.4's release notes claim the flaw is over, thanks to "improved state management." A FaceTime security update is available for the Mac version of the video messaging app as well.
If you've been hiding under a rock for the last two weeks, a flaw in Group FaceTime allowed anyone on the call to hear the audio from any recipient, regardless of whether the person on the other end had picked up. News of the bug first hit last Monday, (Jan. 28), and Apple disabled Group FaceTime later that night, to prevent users from being spied upon.
Apple told outlets that a fix would come later that week, but it instead arrived this week, delivering to the iPhone 5s and later,iPad Air and later and the 6th generation iPod touch. Apple's release notes also acknowledge an included security fix involving Live Photos and FaceTime that solves a bug the company found when performing "a thorough security audit" of FaceTime.
What To Do: How to Update iPhones, Macs and iPads
To patch your iPhone or iPad, open Settings, tap General, tap Software Update and tap Download and Install. If that option is grayed out, make sure you're connected to a Wi-Fi network and/or start charging your device.
In release notes for the update, Apple credits the discovery of the flaw to Grant Thompson of Catalina Foothills High School and Daven Morris of Arlington, Texas. Macs are also getting an updated version of macOS 10.14.3 to fix the Group FaceTime flaw, as this feature is also built into that platform.
To update your Mac, open System Preferences (Apple Logo > System Preferences), click Software Update and click Update Now. The update has also arrived for systems still running macOS High Sierra or macOS Sierra, and is accessible through the Mac App Store's Updates tab, as Apple changed this update method in macOS Mojave.
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