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When the iPhone and Three Nearby Computers all Ring for a Phone Call, and is this a Privacy Issue?

With OS X Yosemite, three (3) computers and the iPhone were all ringing at once for incoming calls—and the computers keep ringing after answering the phone for a short time, which interrupted the conversation to start. This intrusive and unwanted behavior is new.

There is a way to fix it, but this begs the question: why should a user have to go fix something that used to work fine, and to do something of that sort with every new Apple release? Perhaps when a company sells to untold millions, that is The Way It Will Be.

After turning off iPhone Cellular Calls on the phone and syncing the iPhone, the box remains checked on the computer, so apparently one has to go to each and every Mac and turn it off on each.

Disable iPhone cell phone calls from other devices

On the computer(s), open FaceTime preferences and disable this checkbox, like this:

Disable iPhone cell phone calls from other devices


Consider the privacy implications of how FaceTime does this: just because a phone rings—does that mean your co-worker or whoever should be able to read on the computer screen who is calling? (that little green FaceTime badge that pops up). The computer might even be in another room (“nearby”).

It’s subtle, but a potential invasion of privacy, and no more appealing than the unwanted cloud storage of sensitive documents. There is a common presumptuousness that connects these two Apple implementations, and MPG does not think it is a good trend. It is in the same vein as that free album showing up in personal iTunes accounts a while ago, which irritated a lot of people, and rightly so.

The original Apple genius was in making simple tasks simple to accomplish. Now the trend is moving in the opposite direction: new and possibly unwanted functionality that increases the complexity of using the basics, and might violate privacy or security, but in ways that ordinary users are not likely to detect or comprehend. This design challenge is not going to go away, and will likely get worse.

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