The bug crashing iPhones with a single text also affects Apple Watches and iPads

Apple watch iphone unicode bug tkJames Cook/BIThe message being displayed on a colleague’s Apple Watch (without crashing it).

Yesterday, news broke of a nasty bug that crashed iPhones with a single text. Upon receiving a certain string of characters, people’s smartphones would freeze or reboot.

Now it looks like it’s not just the iPhone that is affected. Tests run by Samuel Gibbs for The Guardian found that the bug can also be replicated on Macs, iPads, and Apple Watches — meaning it’s possible to crash almost any modern Apple device by sending a single message.

When we tested the bug on the iPhone yesterday, it didn’t work every time. But at one point, it did crash a colleague’s iPhone, rebooting the device and leaving them unable to open the Messages app.

The devices have trouble rendering the specific unicode characters in the string — slowing or even freezing them entirely, forcing them to reboot.

Here’s a video of an Apple Watch rebooting after receiving the message:

And here’s the text that is causing the bug:

effective. Power لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗

The problem is being widely discussed on social media, with comments suggesting that many people are using the text as a prank to switch off friends’ phones: