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How to turn off FaceTime on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Squash the FaceTime bug

A photo of the iPhone with the FaceTime icon Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Want to listen in on your friend’s conversations? Thanks to a bug in Apple’s FaceTime service, all you need to do is call them via FaceTime on their iPhone or Mac. You can then use their phone’s microphone to hear what’s going on, even if they don’t pick up the call.

This serious bug is now known by anyone who reads tech news. (It has been tested and verified by The Verge staff.) It’s actually quite easy to prevent anyone else from invading your conversational privacy until Apple is able to fix the bug later this week. [Update: Apple announced on February 1st that the fix had been delayed.] Just turn FaceTime off.

In fact, Apple has temporarily turned off the Group FaceTime feature in iOS and macOS, which it says should address the bug for now. However, if you want to make absolutely sure, you can disable it entirely from your end. This will turn off both video and audio FaceTime calls, but it’s a safety precaution to take until this nasty bug is fixed.

On the Mac:

Facetime preferences
  • Open the FaceTime app
  • Go to the menu, and click on “FaceTime”
  • Go to “Preferences”
  • Uncheck “Enable this account”

or

  • Go to the menu, and click on “Turn FaceTime off”

On the iPhone and iPad:

facetime iOS screenshot
  • Go to the Settings app
  • Scroll to “FaceTime”
  • Toggle “FaceTime off”

If you’re a FaceTime fan, stay tuned. We’ll let you know when Apple has fixed the problem.