For what feels like the umpteenth time this has happened
, a string of specific text is causing iOS
devices to crash when received, including iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. The malicious text is going viral, and as of this writing, has not been addressed with an iOS update (we imagine one will arrive soon). Even worse, it doesn't have to be sent as a direct text message like past incidents.
The string of text that is causing problems on iOS devices consists of certain characters in the Sindhi language. It was originally thought that emojis of the Italian flag needed to accompany the text as well, but was later discovered that the Sindhi text string is all that is needed to freeze and/or crash an iOS device, necessitating a forced shutdown.
This sort of thing has happened on several occasions in the past—leveraging vulnerabilities in iOS, users have periodically discovered
that certain text messages can freeze or crash iPhone and iPad devices. What's unique about this one, however, is that even a notification of the text string can bring down an iOS device.
A user on Twitter discovered this when he accidentally "crashed several hundred people's phones" by tweeting out the problematic text string.
It looks as though this does not affect the iOS 13.4.5 beta. The update is not available to the general public yet, though, and the current version of iOS (13.4.1) is susceptible to this. It's not clear if iOS users will have to wait for 13.4.5 to arrive, or if Apple might launch a patch in the meantime.
Fortunately, it seems a force reboot resolves the issue, at least until encountering the troublesome text string a subsequent time. You can reference Apple's iPhone User Guide
on how to do this on your particular handset (it varies slightly on different iPhone models).
If you are worried about this, you can disable notifications until Apple rolls out a fix. Additionally, a user on Reddit
posted a workaround that is applicable for jailbroken devices