A nasty new iPhone bug is making the rounds, and it involves a string of characters that, when sent in a message, crashes the recipient’s phone.
We first heard about the issue on 9to5Mac, and it apparently affects only iPhone-to-iPhone communication. After receiving a text with the particular string of characters, Messages will reportedly crash repeatedly. It can also force iPhones to reboot in some circumstances.
Here’s the text that is reportedly causing the bug:
effective. Power لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗
After several attempts, we finally (accidentally) replicated the bug — crashing an iPhone from the lock-screen, and forcing it to reboot. Other journalists have reported that they have been unable to replicate it, but our experience shows it definitely works in some instances, though it’s not clear why it doesn’t happen every time.
Here’s the message being displayed on my colleague’s Apple Watch after crashing his iPhone:
Comments made on social media also indicate it’s a serious issue for many others:
Someone sent that message that makes your iPhone turn off to make me text back.. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with my phone
— k e. (@BlissfulAllure) May 27, 2015
If one more person sends me that stupid turn off your iPhone text I'm gonna be so mad
— Sarah Margo (@sarahcmargo) May 27, 2015
Why and how did someone just now figure out that text can turn off someone's iphone..
— Mel (@melissahitz) May 27, 2015
On Reddit, one user suggested it was caused by a failure to render unicode properly — causing “messages to take up a lot more memory than normal, leading to iOS killing the largest process,” and thus crashing.
And as 9to5Mac notes, this isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2013, the tech blog reported on how certain Arabic characters could cause issues in both iOS 6 and OS X 10.8.
If you’ve been affected, Forbes has a suggestion on how to fix the issue and let you reopen Messages: Either “have the person who pranked you send another message,” or “send yourself a message through Siri or your Mac.”
An Apple spokesperson provided Business Insider with the following statement: “We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update.”