WATCH ABOVE: An iPhone bug is causing user’s phones to crash and restart after receiving a specific text message that contains the words ‘effective’, ‘power’ and a series of Chinese and Arabic letters. Nicole Bogart reports.
Update: An Apple spokesperson confirmed that Apple is aware of the issue.
“We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update,” a company spokesperson said.
TORONTO – It only takes a single line of text to take down an iPhone, thanks to a newly discovered bug in Apple’s iOS software.
The bug – reported by several Reddit users Tuesday night – causes users’ iPhones to crash and restart after receiving a specific text message or iOS message.
The message that causes the glitch is very specific – it contains the words “effective,” “power,” and a series of Chinese and Arabic letters.
The bug appears to be linked to the banner notification system in Apple’s iOS software, because the cryptic message must come through on a banner alert or notification in order for the phone to crash. A banner alert will notify the user of a message if their iPhone is locked, or any time they are using an app other than “Messages.”
Of course, since the Reddit thread describing the bug was posted, many have been using the text to prank their friends.
The bug isn’t dangerous to users’ devices, but many users report being unable to access their messages again until the person who sent them the problematic text message sends another text message.
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According to one Reddit user, the message also crashes Apple Watches.
Although the text message is very specific – and therefore unlikely to be replicated by accident – there is a way you can avoid falling victim to any friends who might want to prank you.
You can avoid the bug altogether by simply turning off the notification banners function on your iPhone. Here’s how:
Settings > Notifications > Messages
From inside the “Messages” menu, select “None” under “Alert style when unlocked.”
This isn’t the first time a bug similar to this has affected Apple devices. In 2013, Apple issued a fix for a similar issue that saw a string of Arabic letters to crash applications in OS X 10.88 and iOS 6.
Apple has not commented on reports of the bug; however, in the past this type of bug has been fixed fairly quickly.