Owners of iPhones and iPads not on the latest version of the operating system are being warned of a text message doing the rounds that can cause devices to instantly freeze and become unusable when received.
This latest iPhone-crashing message is just three characters long but has the power to render your unusable, until it eventually will crash so that it can be rebooted. Users will also need to delete the hijacked iMessage conversation to avoid repeated crashes.The issue is caused by an iMessage that comprises of a waving white flag emoji, a zero, a rainbow and a hidden character called 'VS16', also known as a variation selector, which can be copied into a conversation and sent to anyone.
As EverythingApplePro demonstrates in the YouTube video below, putting the "0" between the two emoji sees the iPhone is unable to combine the two emoji, resulting in the crash.
French iOS developer Vincent Desmurs claims to have discovered the bug and says the issue likely has come about because of Apple's handling of the variation selector.
"What variation selector 16 (VS16) does in this case essentially is tell the device to combine the two surrounding characters into one emoji, yielding the rainbow flag," he said.
"The text you're copying is actually a 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."
This issue won't affect you if you're running the latest version of iOS (version 10.2) but will crash iPhones and iPads running iOS 10.1 or below.
There is a second variation of this issue that involves the same string of characters being used within a contacts file, which can be shared via iCloud Drive to an iMessage contact. This issue affects all versions of iOS 10, including the latest iOS 10.2.
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