Apple has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch due to an eavesdropping bug that allows one to eavesdrop on other iPhone users.
Apple was informed about the bug directly via its vulnerability portal. It believes that the vulnerability has not been used against any of its customers. The Walkie-Talkie app continues to remain installed on Apple Watch, though it will not function until Apple rolls out a fix.
The company has already issued a statement regarding the matter and has temporarily disabled the feature until it gets around to rolling out an update to fix it.
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 had debuted Walkie-Talkie with watchOS 5 last year. It allows Apple Watch owners to talk to each other using PTT similar to phones from the last decade.
The bug seems to be similar in nature to the Group FaceTime bug that was discovered earlier this year.