TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson teen found the bug in Apple’s FaceTime software more than a week before it was reported.
On January 19, Grant Thompson, 14, said he called his friends on FaceTime to start playing a video game called Fortnite.
“I tried to FaceTime my friend Nathan to see if he wanted to play some video games with me. He didn’t answer right away, so I swiped up to add another person - my friend Diego," he said.
Little did he know, a night of video games would turn into something much bigger.
“I was looking at my Xbox and I got a notification of someone joining the FaceTime. So I was like ‘Hey Nathan, what’s up?’ He was pretty confused at first. ‘Like Grant, how can you hear me?’”
This confusion turned out to be a major bug in the group FaceTime software.
“Pretty shocked that we could hear him and he could hear us even though he never clicked accept,” he said.
Grant, his sister Lauren, and his mother, Michele, recreated the glitch that night.
The next day, Michele Thompson tried to get Apple’s attention.
“I’m pretty tenacious when something bothers me or I think something isn’t right. So I thought of all avenues,” Thompson said.
She posted on Facebook and tweeted the following:
“My teen found a major security flaw in Apple’s new iOS,” she wrote. “He can listen in to your iPhone/iPad without your approval. I have video. Submitted bug report to @AppleSupport...waiting to hear back to provide details.”
Thompson spent the next several days sending a letter on her law firm’s letterhead, calling, and sending emails.
“Short of smoke signals, I thought I did everything,” Thompson said.
She got a response through email about what steps she should take, but received no indication from Apple that her concerns were being looked at.
“It was frustrating," Thompson said. “That being said, I am also a busy mom with a career so I’m juggling trying to manage that and making sure that I could let Apple know that I thought there was a major security issue.”
This bug caused a stir on social media Monday, Jan. 28, when users learned about the bug.
Apple finally reached out to the Thompsons after nine days of silence and a public statement saying they were aware of the issue.
The email from Apple stated that the company will acknowledge anyone who finds an issue and asked for Grant’s information.
Thompson said she was not exactly satisfied with Apple’s response and she feels Grant deserves some recognition, or even a simple thank you.
As for Grant, he said he’s blown away by the response he has been getting.
“I was getting so many texts and Snapchats and stuff of people saying is this you? Sending me the article and stuff like that. I wouldn’t expect that I’m the first person to find a bug in the worlds biggest tech provider," he said.
Apple deactivated the FaceTime group-chat feature Jan. 28.
Apple is expected to push out an update soon, but anyone can disable FaceTime on their phone by going into settings, FaceTime and toggling off the green button at the top of the screen