Something very odd is happening to many Apple users — they're being bombarded with seemingly endless group FaceTime calls, often in the middle of the night.
"Yesterday they called 10 times in 3 minutes," wrote one Reddit user a week ago. "Whenever I hung up, the group would immediately call again. ... I've had to turn FaceTime off completely, which unfortunately stops me from FaceTiming my friends or parents who may call or who I’ve been wanting to talk with."
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"I got a FaceTime call with 11 numbers included at around midnight," wrote a user on an Apple support thread earlier this month. "I set my phone on airplane mode to ignore the calls ... When I woke up the next day I turned off airplane mode then received that Group FaceTime call almost immediately after."
As Dan Goodin as Ars Technica points out, this has been happening off and on for nearly a year, with the earliest post on the Apple support thread dating back to March 31, 2020. But the frequency of posts about the problem has picked in the past few weeks.
It seems that organized pranksters are making sure that if a participant drops off a group call, they will be immediately reconnected. Jerks appear to be adding random numbers to FaceTime group calls just to annoy people.
Unfortunately, if this is happening to you, your options are limited. You can block the individual phone numbers on the group calls one by one, but that may not always work since the perpetrators may be using disposable numbers. Or you can just disable FaceTime altogether, just for the night or permanently.
Goodin said for the moment, Apple users can't limit FaceTime calls to only numbers that are in a user's contacts list. Nor can users block all the numbers on a group call at once.
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Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at FoxNews.com, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.