Me and my girlfriend are using facetime regularly for talking. I'm worried if anyone can hack our Facetime calls and record our videos? Is it possible? How safe is Facetime?

  • First tell us how you making the call. Are you on safe (private) internet or in Starbucks. – Ruskes May 6 '13 at 20:47
  • Hi Thanks for the comment.. We make calls in our mobile data connection and sometimes in home wifi.. – shnan May 23 '13 at 16:31
  • I think w have enough answers here. If the "anyone can hack" has more specifics then this would be an excellent candidate for further answers. Also the edit should have one clear question, not three. – bmike Jun 2 '15 at 12:53

FaceTime is quite secure. In Feb 2014, Apple published a white paper on the security used in various iOS services, which finally brought to light some of the features that others had previously inferred or guessed at. The section for FaceTime states:

FaceTime is Apple’s video and audio calling service. Similar to iMessage, FaceTime calls also use the Apple Push Notification Service to establish an initial connection to the user’s registered devices. The audio/video contents of FaceTime calls are protected by end-to-end encryption, so no one but the sender and receiver can access them. Apple cannot decrypt the data.

FaceTime uses Internet Connectivity Establishment (ICE) to establish a peer-to-peer connection between devices. Using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) messages, the devices verify their identity certificates and establish a shared secret for each session. The nonces supplied by each device are combined to salt keys for each of the media channels, which are streamed via Secure Real Time Protocol (SRTP) using AES-256 encryption.


FaceTime calls are encrypted sufficiently for most anyone's needs. FaceTime's encrypted stream acts underneath any other WiFi encryption that might also be present. If you feel that end-to-end data streams encrypted with unique keys for each recipient is safe, then I'd say have fun with FaceTime.

Someone with special skills, tools and time could probably crack it, but you probably don't have a high enough profile to be worth the time/effort.

  • I would add that everyone should assume anyone that operates your network can and will record all of the packets - so the fact that you are communicating with another device - for how long and what volume of data is being transmitted is able to be captured, logged and analyzed at a later date. Whether someone is motivated to try to crack the encryption keys used depends on whether you and your girlfriend are otherwise famous or of interest to people that want to know what you are saying or showing. – bmike May 6 '13 at 21:49
  • I'm the type of person who hacks network systems just for the lolz, regardless of how insignificant they are :P A lot of people seem to freak out about the security of their data, when in reality, they're insignificant enough to be safe lol – Alexander - Reinstate Monica May 6 '13 at 23:10
  • Agreed that the fear of being insecure pales in comparison with the risks in many cases. It would be interesting to see what was necessary for a successful MITM attack on FaceTime given how Apple has engineered the certificate end points. For most, I'd say securing their phone physically would be worth more attention that whether someone can eaves drop on a FaceTime call. – bmike May 6 '13 at 23:28
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    Even if one COULD pull it off, what über top secret information would someone find over a FaceTime call? I couldn't find a less professional way to transmit sensitive data. I lied, snap chat might be a bit worse. – Alexander - Reinstate Monica May 7 '13 at 2:20
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    @shnan If this answer solved your question, click the checkmark next to it. – stommestack Jun 11 '13 at 19:44

As far as I have read, you should assume your Facetime traffic is completely unencrypted. There have been assertions by Apple of encryption (the ZDNet article linked above), but they talked about using WPA2. WPA2 has nothing to do with encrypting the voice/video traffic. WPA2 is about making wireless connections to an access point private. Your Facetime traffic is sent to the AP, then to your router, then to your ISP's router then all over the place before it gets to your gf's home network or cellular provider/device. I should note that I have not done a protocol analysis of the Facetime protocol; I'm going by the published statements.

Saying that WPA2 answers the question is like being confident in transporting large sums of money to the bank using an armored truck only between the loading dock and the edge of the parking lot and then putting the money into a Corolla and driving it the rest of the way to its destination.

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    This is incorrect. The article from ZDNet quotes an Apple rep: "In addition to your existing infrastructure each FaceTime session is encrypted end to end with unique session keys." ZD's remarks about the devices themselves being HIPAA compliant themselves relate to the level of security the users chose for their wireless infrastructure and do not pertain to Facetime itself. The article is vague when identifying that as the actual topic, since the conversation was spurred from FaceTime security. – smoooosher Apr 16 '15 at 22:49

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