Beware, this simple string of text will crash your iPhone

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

beware iphone apple reddit bug imessage vulnerability flaw crash messages unicode messages app

It has been discovered that a simple string of characters sent via text message to an iPhone can have some pretty serious consequences. At best, it will lock users out of the Messages app and at worst, it can crash the entire phone or cause it to reboot without warning.

The good news is that it’s virtually impossible to enter the offending string of characters by accident. This means victims of what is quickly becoming a global prank have been singled out as targets. A quick search on Twitter reveals a sea of pissed off victims.

If the person who sent you the initial buggy message sends you a follow-up message, it’ll reportedly unlock the Messages app. Details about what exactly is taking place behind the scenes is sketchy at this hour although one Reddit user claims it is due to how the banner notifications process the Unicode text.

Of course, that’s just one explanation as others have their own opinion, some of which are pretty silly.

Vulnerabilities like this have surfaced in the past although Apple is usually quick to issue a fix. In a e-mail to Gizmodo, an Apple spokesperson said they are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of Unicode characters and they will make a fix available in a software update.

Until then, just hope that your friends are mature enough not to pull the prank on you.

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MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Poor Apple. Yet another chapter in the ridiculous problems with an otherwise awesome phone.
- 'You're holding it the wrong way' reception issues
- Maps complete failure at launch
- data collection and tracking privacy invasion.
- Bending in your pocket.
- and now, the phone killing text message.

what am I forgetting?
 

Nobina

TS Evangelist
Can't you guys see that's a feature? Don't forget that iOS is the most secure system in existence. Nothing is ever wrong with it, it is just it's user base that's not operating correctly with the device.
 

Burty117

TechSpot Chancellor
Strange, I can't get it to crash my iPhone 6 plus :/

Poor Apple. Yet another chapter in the ridiculous problems with an otherwise awesome phone.
- 'You're holding it the wrong way' reception issues
- Maps complete failure at launch
- data collection and tracking privacy invasion.
- Bending in your pocket.
- and now, the phone killing text message.

what am I forgetting?
- Bending in your pocket - False, this was completely overblown and all phones can bend.
- Data collection and tracking Privacy Invasion - You really think Google and Microsoft are secure?
- Phone Killing Text Message - Again false, Not only can I not get it to work on my iPhone, it doesn't kill it, just reboots it.

The rest are true though, "your holding it wrong" will still be the funniest thing I've ever heard come out of Apple for another decade.
 
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Zero21XX

TS Member
- Data collection and tracking Privacy Invasion - You really think Google and Microsoft are secure?
I love how your response was pretty much "So is everyone else...". So, Apple is invading your privacy, but it's okay because so is everyone else? Please tell me you're kidding.
 
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Burty117

TechSpot Chancellor
I love how your response was pretty much "So is everyone else...". So, Apple is invading your privacy, but it's okay because so is everyone else? Please tell me you're kidding.
I never said it was ok? Not anywhere did I say it was ok? I was simply stating that, poking fun at a single entity for "breaking your privacy" when literally everyone else is doing it...
 
G

Guest

Mature??? are you frikin kidding me now? it's not about being mature it's about not being an apple fanboy. you guys are so obsessed with your tiny little iWorld. I can see your frightened and panicking face right now, praying not to receive the text message. you guys deserve it, not for the sake of a prank, but to wake up, look around and maybe even laugh at your phone when it starts resetting automatically. it's a funny thing, hey out there, the world is around you, not inside the screen in your hand.
 

9Nails

TechSpot Paladin
I don't have an Apple, but two of my friends do. I watched as one sent the text to the other and crashed her phone causing a reboot. It came over as Arabic letters, and then poof! She was at the Apple logo boot screen. Very effective. I'm also curious what's taking place on the back end.