APPLE • GETTY • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS
Apple iPhone owners should avoid this text message like the plague
A text message with just three characters is all it takes to temporarily disable an Apple iPhone, an online hacker has revealed.
The problematic text includes a white flag emoji, a “0” and a rainbow emoji.
As soon as an iPhone receives the problematic text, it will freeze, with the Messages app quitting and, for some users, the touchscreen and physical buttons becoming useless.
Some iPhone owners have even been forced to reboot their devices following the text.
People have using the text as a cruel prank – crashing their friends' iPhone remotely by sending the message.
Worst of all, there is nothing iPhone owners can do to stop the text prank, besides block the number of those who have sent the infuriating message.
Fortunately the prank is restricted to the latest iterations of iOS, version 10.0 or more recent.
That's because the prank purportedly takes advantage of the convoluted way that iOS creates the rainbow flag emoji within its Messages app.
Since the rainbow flag emoji is not an official emoji, Apple renders the character by combining the code behind both the white flag and rainbow emoji, online hacker vincedes3 has speculated.
When the troublesome white flag emoji, “0” and rainbow emoji string is sent in a single message – the iPhone is left unable to combine the two emoji, and crashes.
Copying and pasting the malicious text on an iPhone can cause the Messages app to crash, meaning most pranksters will have to resort to thier desktop Apple devices to send the problematic text from the Messages app.
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The malicious text message only uses three characters to crash your iPhone
YouTube video creator EverythingApplePro has also discovered another twist on the prank that works on a much larger group of iOS devices, however, it involves downloading a large contact file from iCloud Drive and attempting to forward it to your friends. When the Messages app receives the enormous contact file, it crashes.
Express.co.uk has decided not to publish a link to the contact file being used to prank iPhone owners.
Those who have been hit by the gag should reboot your iPhone, and block the sender to ensure you are not fooled twice.
To do this, simply tap the small "i" button in the top right of an iMessage chat window, click their name and select “Block This Caller”.