back to article Apple Facetime flings out frightening random calls

Apple's FaceTime application has been fingered for randomly placing calls, identified as coming from friends and causing more than a little concern when the call fails to connect. The calls are reportedly happening at roughly the same time first thing this morning - waking up Brits around 2.30 in the morning by all accounts - …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Geoff Campbell

    Can I be the first to say:

    HA ha!


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    2:30am in Britain?

    Do you know what time that is in Apple Time? Thought not. It's shiny time, of course! And on Apple Time it's never the middle of the night, either.

    Sent from my iHole.

    1. Graham Marsden

      In Apple Time

      California is GMT -8 hours, so 2:30am should be 6:30pm there (assuming no different Daylight Savings in effect)

    2. Ascylto
      Big Brother


      And did you get up at 2.30am to think of that one? Get back under the bridge!

  3. Velv

    Compiler Errors.....

    Remember reading a long time ago about someone changing the compiler error messages, and can't help thinking of one in particular every time a new failure (feature?) is reported with the iPhone:

    "let's duct tape this gerbil of a program"

    Apple - Stop bodging the fixes and do it properly!!!

  4. Was Steve

    Here's a thought....

    How about turning it off when you want some piece and quiet?

    What's that, you're too insecure without your Mobile Life Support to validate your existence? Oh well....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Do you unplug your landline at night?

      I never turn my phone of because if somebody phones me in the middle of the night it usually is an emergency.

      Also, if you need to make an emergency phone call do really want to wait that 2 minutes (or whatever) while your phone powers up?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Oh what a sad lonely life YOU lead

      Modern technology is a wonderous and powerful thing, and many people now use it to stay in touch with the disabled, elderly and infirm. It gives people independence safe in the knowledge they can summon help in an emergency.

      You clearly don't have anyone in your life that you care for enough to be available 24/7.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Not possible...

      ...they might miss out on a tweet or something.

      I only experienced the full horror of combined iPhone/social networking addiction when we had a gathering recently and a friend we hadn't seen in a while stayed overnight. She spent most of the night on the fondleslab, which was never once out of her hands, then announced she was tired and off to bed at midnight-ish. It was later discovered that she was tweeting till 4am, then back at it again from 8am before appearing for breakfast at 11-ish.

      It's sad, and I don't mean that in the 90's school playground slagging way. It's sad that someone who used to be the life and soul of the party is having it sucked out of her by such a meaningless waste of time.

      1. Cpt Blue Bear

        Get a grip

        [Sarcasm turned up to 11]

        So leaving aside the disabled, elderly and infirm, what about the other 90% of the population? Oh, you actually meant you! I guess it makes you feel important that you "care" enough for someone to not turn you phone off. Such an effort you've made there. What DID we do before mobile phones? All those disabled, elderly and infirm getting murdered in their bed's 'cause they couldn't phone YOU. Get over yourself.

        Right, rant over. This is actually a pretty good example of a very limited case being used to justify self indulgent behaviour. I want an expensive toy so I'll justify it by claiming it's for the benefit of someone else. I've come to suspect people who use this sort of reasoning genuinely believe their own BS.

        For the record, my phone is usually turned on overnight because I forget to turn it off. Number of important phone calls at 2AM in the last 10 years: 0

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ever heard of escalation procedures?

          "For the record, my phone is usually turned on overnight because I forget to turn it off. Number of important phone calls at 2AM in the last 10 years: 0"

          I'm out of that environment now but it used to be my job to wake up the on-call tech if there was a problem I couldn't fix myself - usually because it required physical access to a server in the Californian data center.

          After a pre-defined delay I would also wake my manager in the USA if a global issue remained unresolved.

          Likewise I would expect to be woken if there were problems in APAC.

          In all cases the party woken up was grateful for the call. We all had busy working days and preferred to lose a couple of hours sleep from time to time and then go in to work for a routine day than to roll into work and find nothing working except the telephone which was glowing hot with calls from users' managers who believed that shouting down a telephone at someone who is busy would somehow speed up problem resolution.

          And using only a cellphone for wakeup calls meant my wife was not woken up for no reason if I was called while travelling.

    4. Terry Barnes
      Jobs Horns


      How about buying a reasonably priced phone that works properly?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Reasonably priced?

        Isn't that something that Clarkson et al zap around their track with (gay) abandon not caring how many they wreck? You're a b***** to treat a phone like that :P

    5. Daniel B.

      Emergency Calls

      Turning off your cellphone is so 1990's. These days, more people call you at your mobile than your landline; and if you *do* get a nighttime call, it's urgent.

      Also, you might not even be sleeping at your own home. ;)

  5. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    wait a minute

    Got out of bed with his girlfriend to drive 16 miles through ice to check on his Mac? Dare I hope she changed the locks?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >"Quite what this poster expected to achieve on arrival at his sub-zero house we're not clear"

      Well obviously he was hoping to catch a burglar.

      1. Thomas 4


        Probably not half as much as she was.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: wait a minute

      Yes, it's terrible.

      The fact that there would appear to be a bloke out there who has both a Mac and a girlfriend is The End Of The World As We Know It.....

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. nsld

    From the desk of jobs

    Move to California

    Not that big of a deal


    Sent from - 8 hours

  7. Anonymous Coward

    It Just Works TM

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      It just works, except for when it doesn't™

  8. g e

    New moniker required

    We had Antenagate so need something for this one to remain consistent...

    Farcetime ?

    Facegate ?

    Fakegate ?

    Facecrime ? (The act of using the app for real, maybe)

    1. Steve J. Rapaport




    2. Steen Hive
      Thumb Up

      New Moniker


  9. Brian 62


    Sounds like some hackers are probing the Facetime system and triggering false calls.

    1. Mr Grumblefish


      its always hackers.

    2. Ef'd
      Thumb Up


      I'm calling it as this too.

  10. 20legend

    @ Was Steve

    Why don't you go and re-read the article pal?

    It would seem that you missed the bit about the lad with the iphone that was turned off and in his bag, and the lad with the mac that was turned off at his home, while he was staying with his doris 16 miles away.

    Apple bag-o-shite-a-rama IMO.

  11. ArmanX
    Jobs Horns

    2:30AM GMT = 6:30PM PST

    It's not a bug - Jobs is just forwarding all the telemarketers calling his house during supper to Facetime. Obviously, the telemarketers don't have a number to display, so it randomly chooses someone to display.

  12. Airhead

    In the interests of fairness...

    it should be noted that FaceTime on the Mac is still in beta (although granted, this sounds like a backend issue rather than one with the client app)

  13. Alien Doctor 1.1


    "Girlfriend got a Facetime call at 2:30am from my mac but I was in bed with her 16 miles away at her house."

    Easy answer, the Mac is probably alone in your cold house surrounded by WinOS devices and just wanted a cuddle and some TLC.

  14. David Neil
    Paris Hilton

    Awaiting a response

    Just curious, I see this a lot on stories involving Apple, do they ever actually call back, or are you still out in the cold?

    1. Colin Miller
      Jobs Horns

      porcine aviators

      Do you honestly expect Jobsworth to admit there's anything wrong with his companies products?

  15. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Think I'll stick with Symbian...

    It even lets me make a profile which turns off message alerts (SMS spam) but calls work normally.

    It Just Works.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Symbian just works? Really?

      Good for you. When I had a Symbian device it very rarely ever just worked at ANYTHING.

      It was the worst piece of crap phone OS I have ever had the misfortune to have.

      And that includes Windows Mobile.

  16. JBH


    If it's an 'emergency' why would anyone be video-calling?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If it's an 'emergency' why would anyone be video-calling?"

      "Ambulance please, my penis exploded"

      "LOOK at the horrible graphics - hang on, I'll turn on a brighter light."


  17. Dan Hoban


    "Quite what this poster expected to achieve on arrival at his sub-zero house we're not clear"

    Maybe the guy wanted to stop his mac from being stolen?

    "I panicked thinking someone was in my house"

    Or maybe he was worried that if they could get in to his mac, the aforementioned house-invader might be on his Facebook writing something embarrassing about his love for otters?

  18. Michael C

    From descriptions

    This seems to be a central server issue, not the device randomly dialing on it's own. I'm sure this will be a bug hunted down quite quickly. it seems to be very limited in scope.

    that said, I've not only received random calls from random phones before on actual cell lines, worse, many, many times I've gotten voicemails or texts hours and sometimes days after they were sent/left. Typically in the wee hours of the morning. I have to have the phone set to continuously alert if i get a message because I'm on call, and sometimes don't hear the first page. Since i also have GV texts duplicated to the wife's phone from some people, as well as voicemails sent to e-mail, her phone often goes off too (in case mine is dead). If AT&T or Verizon delay a voicemail, or the the mother-in-law texts the GV number instead of my wife's number, and it gets delayed, i might have both phones go off within 10 minutes at 3AM. This happens at least once a month, sometimes more (and often from a wrong number).

    A sporadic, server side, and evry random issue that Apple will vigorously hunt down and stop i can care less about. SMS systems and voicemail taking days to deliver messages and choosing to in the wee hours of the morning, especially when they were IMPORTANT, or time sensitive, that's bad. I'll take a little face time bug any time.

  19. mafoo


    Ghost in the iShell: Phone Alone Complex

  20. Ammaross Danan
    Big Brother


    So, your phone is constantly (continuously?) in touch with Apple servers listening for an incoming FT call (yes, this is a common method), one wonders what else your phone might be contacting "home" about. Googlephones had a similar scare when they were announced/proposed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Is privacy a bigger issue than worrying if...

      Ballmer has blimps carrying chairs hovering ready to be tossed down from upon high at random for those who may be thinking "wrong thoughts" about WP7 etc...

  21. bugalugs

    @g e

    Fake-time® says it all, can't it ?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    "users expect very high levels of reliability"

    such as not causing all your subscribers to involuntarily drop call each other at 2:30 in the morning?

    they don't need "high levels of reliability", they need "low levels of not fucking up completely"

  23. Nick_Healey

    My HTC Desire is forever calling my friends from my pocket

    The HTC Desire has an unfortunately soft-touch "On" key, and the subsequent screenlock involves only a tiny downward stroke (instead of, say, iPhone's long left-right stroke). Result - it's trivially easy to accidentally turn the device on (ie you brush the "On" button when putting the phone in your pocket, or when later extracting cash from said pocket, or...) and for the screenlock to then be negotiated by leg-friction as you walk along.

    After that, well, it's whatever random leg-engendered screenpresses the device detects as you're walking along / being vibrated by the tube / whatever. So when I extract my HTC from my pocket I sometimes find it's auto-editing my Phonebook, or that it has dialed a now-confused friend.

    ("Firm On/Off button" should be part of Mobile Hardware 101, IMHO, FWIW.)

    1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

      Enable the unlock pattern feature

      (under Security), and pick one that is unlikely to happen in your pocket.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Designers and architects

      should be subjected to the consequences of their design decisions. Of which "being woken up at 02:30 by a wonky program" would be just a minor nuisance.

    3. Bunglebear


      I have to admit, I have never switched on my HTC Desire by accident, but mine doesn't light up until the top hard button is pressed (I assume by soft button you mean one on the touchscreen). Plus its capacitive, so it requires bare skin, a trousered leg won't do, then you have to sweep it down to switch it on, then hit phone, then hit a contact. And anyway, scraping anything down the screen when its in your pocket is asking for scratches. Just how much wiggling do you hands do in your pockets?

    4. Nick_Healey

      thx for HTC input

      @Hayden Clark - thanks for the tip (will do), though my HTC really ought to do the right thing out of the box. Normal folks likely won't find this workaround...

      @Bunglebear - yes I did mean the hard button at the top - not difficult to brush it with enough accidental force when eg trying to extract something else out of the same pocket. And yes, I thought that the "capacitive" nature of the screen should mean this doesn't happen, but it does - and you can test it yourself. Get to the lock screen, then brush lower half of screen gently on your jeans... have a few tries - it really does work (well, for me it does).

      @AC - I would turn the screen around, but it'd encounter keys and coins - not good.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @desire noob

    Or you could just turn your phone around so that it isn't brushing on your leg.

  25. TeeCee Gold badge

    Here's my guess

    Apple have local facetime servers in each large market. Makes more sense than routing every call halfway round the world, given that most calls will be to friends who will usually be in the same country and quite likely in the same area of same.

    The wee hours of the morning are the obvious time to do any maintenance, upgrades and such.

    If it's necessary to pull a server offline, when it comes back up it polls its registered devices to see what's up and about.

    There's a glitch in iOS that causes the handset to interpret the poll as an incoming call, the poll has no caller infromation and it flags it up as being from whoever last called as that's what's sitting in memory from the last use.....

  26. Tim Bates

    Software fix...

    Well I'd actually believe that this one can be fixed in software... Unlike the antenna issue...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021