Three-character message prank crashes pre-iOS 10.2 Apple iPhones with a single text

“A three character-long text message can temporarily disable iPhones, a hacker has shown,” James Titcomb reports for The Telegraph.

“On receiving the message, iPhones instantly freeze for around a minute, and sometimes users are forced to restart. Besides blocking the number that the malicious messages come from the victim has no way of preventing the attack, although its effects are temporary and do not work on the most recent version of iOS,” Titcomb reports. “The bug is the latest in a series of strange text-message vulnerabilities that have affected iPhones in recent years.”

“The offending message appears to contain just three characters – a white flag emoji, a ‘0’” and a rainbow emoji,” Titcomb reports. “When a text with the three characters is received, an iPhone will become temporarily unusable, with the touchscreen and physical buttons not functioning. The fault appears to be in the convoluted way that iOS creates the rainbow flag emoji. Because the flag is not an official emoji, Apple creates it by combining the code behind the two white flag and rainbow emoji. The two are joined together by a hidden character known as a VS16. With the troublesome three-character text, the VS16 is there, forcing the iPhone into trying to combine the two emoji, but is unable to because of the zero in the middle.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you haven’t yet upgraded to iOS 10.2, here’s yet another reason to do so.

Random string of Arabic characters can crash nearly any Mac, iPhone or iPad – September 3, 2013


  1. Proof positive that Tim Cook’s sexual predilection for men and his resulting penchant for being a SJW over being Apple’s CEO has directly created a flaw that negatively impacts Apple product users.

    We don’t need kludged rainbow emoji, Tim. We need rock-solid software and up-to-date hardware.

    If you’re not up for the job, GTF out and let someone competent do it.

    Then you’ll have all the time in the world to march in gay pride parades.

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