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Apple Sorry About FaceTime Bug, Says Fix on Way

Apple "sincerely apologizes" for the Group FaceTime bug that went public earlier this week, and reassured its customers that a fix was on the way.

Our own Philip Michaels demonstrates his enthusiasm for FaceTime. Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Our own Philip Michaels demonstrates his enthusiasm for FaceTime. Credit: Tom's Guide)

"We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple's servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week," a statement provided today (Feb. 1) to CNBC and BuzzFeed News read. "We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug."

Grant Thompson, a 14-year-old in Tucson, Arizona, discovered the flaw Jan. 19. His mother, Michele Thompson, tried to report it privately to Apple several different ways, but the company apparently ignored her. Other users separately found the bug Jan. 28, whereupon it went viral on social media.

MORE: How to Turn Off FaceTime on Your iPhone and Mac

Apple addressed that issue in its statement as well.

"We are committed to improving the process by which we receive and escalate these reports, in order to get them to the right people as fast as possible," the company said.

Notably, it said that "as soon as our engineering team became aware of the details necessary to reproduce the bug, they quickly disabled Group FaceTime and began work on the fix."

The implication is that no one in Apple's bug-reporting team or legal staff took the Thompsons' reports of the bug seriously enough to pass it along to the engineering team.

Michele Thompson, an attorney herself, said she sent Apple's general counsel a memo regarding the bug on her own law firm's letterhead in order to get Apple's attention after emails, phone calls and even a formal filing with Apple's own bug-bounty program failed to get Apple's attention.

"We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue," the statement said. "We appreciate everyone's patience as we complete this process."

A Houston lawyer filed suit against Apple Jan. 28 even as the flaw was only beginning to break wide on social media, claiming that the flaw could have let someone record one of his private depositions without authorization. Later in the week, the state of New York said it had launched an investigation into the matter.

Paul Wagenseil
Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. That's all he's going to tell you unless you meet him in person.