Tech experts have spotted a string of random Arabic characters can virtually crash any iPhone due to a flaw in its operating system. The curious text string can also take out of service any web browser that is running on iOS or OS X, experts said.
It is enough to receive a message containing the nonsensical text to experience a 15 second reboot on any type of iPhone. What’s more, you can still get a free crash even if you fail to open the message.
The second you have received the crashy message, the iPhone screen goes black and displays Apple’s logo. After 15 seconds, the phone returns back to normal.
But experts have detected two types of messages that may crash an iPhone – the short version which crashes the phone only once and the longer version which can send an iPhone user into a endless loop of crashes and recrashes. The problem gets solved if somebody sends you a few neutral messages that can remove the bad string off the screen, experts suggest.
On a Reddit forum, a user said that he was flooded with another version of the text message that permanently crashed his iMessage until he managed to delete the whole conversation. He explained that he had to open the Photos app, beam a text message to himself, open iMessage and erase the conversation.
Apple disclosed that the bug is caused by a unicode-related problem that would get fixed after the next software update. Some tech experts were more specific and said that Apple’s Core Text, whose main work task is to display glyphs, thinks that the malicious text message is a command. But because it cannot discern what that command may be, it keeps trying and retrying over again.
But so many attempts consume a lot of RAM which prompts the iPhone to restart in order to shut down the burdening process. Tech experts identified Springboard as the application that eats up the entire RAM because of the malicious message.
But tech pundits recommend a way out. You either ask the person that sent you the text to start sending another in order to remove the offending message from the display or use Siri to send a neutral message to the crashed iPhone.
Moreover, you can prevent future crashes or loops of crashes by disabling text previews from Settings > Notifications > Messages tabs.
Image Source: WSJ