A new flaw in Apple’s mobile iOS operating system has surfaced this evening, giving anyone access to crash another user’s iPhone just by sending a simple small text message.
The flaw resides in the Messages app and the notification system used by both iPhone and iPad devices. The glitch only occurs when the message is sent from iPhone-to-iPhone, as it relies on the Apple-exclusive Messages app.
Users discovered a small string of specific Arabic characters, when sent to an iPhone via text message, causes the iPhone to repeatedly crash when the text is read, and can even cause the iPhone to reboot itself.
How can I crash an iPhone? The iPhone flaw is particular tricky as it can cause the device to crash in one of two ways. Either on the lock screen, or while the Messages app is open. The string of characters can be seen below in a photo, assuring none of our iPhone visitors experience problems.
iPhone users who receive the string of Arabic characters through their messages app while the screen is locked, causes the Messages app to unable to launch once the device is unlocked, but if your in the messages app during the text, your iPhone app will automatically crash and possibly cause your iPhone to reboot itself with no prior notification.
The flaw wouldn’t be as big of a deal if people didn’t begin using this for nefarious purposes, but sadly the flaw has made its way there. After first debuting on Reddit, the string of characters made their way upon the internet within a matter of hours, where people began crashing users iPhones, essentially blocking them from reading or sending out any messages, which could be a huge inconvenience.
Another issue is the flaw could not be triggered “accidentally”, as a very specific set of Unicode characters have to be read by the iPhone, meaning whomever decides to send the text did it intentionally. Many have already fallen victim to the roaming bug.
Thankfully there are a number of simple workarounds for the flaw, undoing the damage. One method is the person you sent the iPhone crashing characters to, send them a regular text message following the previous one, it will cancel out the initial text.
Another workaround if you fall victim to the flaw is to use the “share” button found throughout other apps, or ask Siri to send your phone number a text message, or even ask Siri to send a message to whomever, after its sent it will cancel out the indefinite crash.