The Walkie Talkie app for the Apple Watch, introduced with watchOS 5 last year, has been disabled. Apple decided to take off the app after it became apparent that users can listen into other people’s conversations without them knowing. The app allowed Apple Watch owners to use their smartwatch like a walkie-talkie to communicate with other smartwatches.
The issue was reported through Apple’s vulnerability portal and as of now no incidents have been reported. Apple issued the following statement to address the Walkie Talkie app issue: “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.” This eavesdropping problem also existed with Apple’s FaceTime video calling software. Hopefully, Apple will fix the bug soon and the app will be back online.