The YouTube channel EverythingApplePro has released a video detailing a sequence of characters that can make an iPhone freeze. The crash happens when a user receives them in a text message.
Any iPhone running iOS 10 will instantly crash, according to the video, when it receives an SMS containing a white flag emoji, the number ‘0,’ and a rainbow emoji. The error is not permanent and has an easy fix, as noted in the video.
However, this text could be used for potentially malicious activities, though it’s not as dangerous as some recently discovered threats, like the very convincing Gmail phishing scam which surfaced a few days ago.
The ‘rainbow flag’ crash
Every time an iPhone receives that combination of characters it freezes for a few minutes and then restarts on its own. iOS 10 apparently tries to compile the emojis into the rainbow flag emoji but fails to do so because of a code error.
This problem appears whenever the phone receives the sequence. It can happen if a user pastes it in the Search bar or if they receive it through Notes, for example. If a user sends a large thread of text comprised of these characters, the handset freezes for a longer time.
Android users, according to the video, are somehow affected by this combination, but their devices only slow down a bit. Contrary to the iPhone, they can copy, paste, and send the sequence almost without issue, which makes them more dangerous.
Any version of the iPhone, from 4 to 7, is affected by the problem because the issue pertains directly to the operative system.
How to avoid getting the annoying crash text
The best way to keep this from happening is to block any contact that sends the malicious code, which happens mostly through iMessage. Enter the message thread with the text, click on the ‘i’ icon, press and hold the contact name, and select ‘Block this caller.’
The sequence will crash any iPhone running iOS 10.1.1 and older versions but does not affect iOS 9 and below. 10.2 users also suffer from crashes though sometimes the phone can overcome them.
Repeated use of this sequence might cause the iMessages app to stop functioning entirely. Fortunately, this is also fixable. The video host points out to the web address ‘vincedes3,’ owned by the person who discovered the crashing sequence and first made it public.
The website includes a ‘magical link’ from the owner that sends an SMS which fixes the problem and resets the iMessages app.