Be careful out there, iPhone users readers, a simple three-character combination can crash and freeze your friend’s iPhone when send as a message.
The trick doesn’t work on every iPhone and is not that simple to pull off, but it works with pretty nasty results.
This message-of-death, publicly unveiled on YouTube channel EverythingApplePro, consists three visible characters: a white flag, a zero and a rainbow emoji, as well as an invisible character, called variation sector 16 or VS16.
When the message is received, the VS16 signals the iPhone’s Messages app to combine the two emoji into one, which cannot be done and can cause the app to crash and the phone to freeze.
The worst thing about this bug is that the recipient does not even have to interact with the message; the moment you receive it on your iPhone, it will freeze.
There are two caveats to this trick. First, it doesn’t work on the latest version of iOS, 10.2.1, meaning all you have to do is upgrade your iOS and you’ll be safe. Second, it’s not as simple as sending a text message from one phone to another; the process requires logging into iCloud, pasting the character string into the online version of Notes, then opening that on a phone and sharing it as a message.
This is not the only one; there are several similar bugs that can crash your iPhone. The good thing is that Apple generally fixes them fast. In this hopefully Apple will soon find a cure for the other one as well.