This text can crash your iPhone

As if receiving a text from an ex isn’t bad enough, now there’s a far worse kind of unwanted message to worry about. This one can crash your iPhone.

YouTube channel EverythingApplePro highlights a sequence of characters that temporarily freeze an iPhone, which you can send to someone to put their kibosh on their phone. Here’s how it works: If you type a white flag emoji, the digit “0” and a rainbow emoji, iOS 10 will try to combine them into a rainbow flag. But it’ll get confused in the process.

Send those specific characters in a text message to an iPhone running iOS 10 and that phone will freeze. The hapless recipient doesn’t even have to open or read the message — the phone freezes as soon as it receives the text.

Fortunately creating and sending the shady text isn’t as simple as just sending a text. Here’s the video explaining how to send the text message and how to fix it.

Apple, of course, sends fixes for these bugs eventually. These issues are mostly tied to the Messages app not being able to process extremely large files. While fun for the sender, it could be annoying at the receiver’s end to deal with frozen screens. If someone is attacking you with these pointless pranks, better to block them. Or, if you’re game, here’s one weapon to take your revenge.

Here is the explanation as to how this specific iOS text message bug works.

What you see in the text is the waving white flag emoji, a zero, and the rainbow emoji. The rainbow flag emoji isn’t an emoji in itself, it’s made of three characters: waving white flag, a character called variation sector 16 (VS16 for short), and the rainbow. What VS16 does in this case essentially is tells the device to combine the two surrounding characters into one emoji, yielding the rainbow flag (this is similar to how skin tone modifiers work, but not exactly the same).

The text you’re copying is actually waving white flag, VS16, zero, rainbow emoji. What I’m assuming is happening is that the phone tries to combine the waving white flag and the zero into an emoji, but this obviously can’t be done.

Usually the phone wouldn’t try to do this, but it notices that the rainbow emoji is also there, and knows that it can combine the white flag and rainbow emoji, so it tries.

 

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