Step by step guide to using the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ feature on Apple watches
The Walkie-Talkie is a voice over IP communication feature. Follow the steps to use the app
- Make sure you have updated to OS 5 or higher
- Open the Walkie-Talkie app
- Under the list of contacts you can use the feature on select a contact and send them an invite.
- Once they have accepted, you will see their card turn yellow and receive a notification
- Click on the Walkie-Talkie app, press and hold on the ‘talk’ button to chat
- Once done if your friend is currently not available you will see it on the screen
- If you would like to talk to another friend just go back and click on another contact
- Press the ‘talk’ button and hold to send your message
- If your friend is available you will receive back a message without a notification.
Maybe you don’t want to be reached by your contacts at the moment you can go back, scroll up and switch off the option ‘Available’. ‘Do not Disturb’ or ‘Theater Mode’ will also show you as unavailable for your friends.
You might be thinking how the app is so immediate to connect two people at once. The app works just as face-time does, you accept an invite and initiate a conversation like you are starting a call with your friend except you are doing so by pressing a ‘Talk’ button. The feature which mimics the old fashioned Walkie-Talkie does not seem to have hit its mark with users.
Security issues with the Walkie Talkie Feature
The Feature was disabled temporarily from Apple watches when security concerns started surfacing soon after it was released. The feature put the privacy of users at risk as people could listen in on conversations. The Walkie-Talkie app connects two people who have accepted an invite is named after a device which picks up on other devices with the same frequency.
A statement from Apple reads:
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.
Apple has since looked into multiple reports of security threats. The app is still operational on devices with OS 5 and higher.