Apple iOS: Rainbow Emoji Message Crashes iPhones

iphone crash message apple ios
A message containing rainbow and flag emojis can cause iPhones and iPads to crash. DEVIANTART/CREATIVE COMMONS

An Apple iOS software bug that causes iPhones and iPads to crash if they receive a message containing a sequence of text and emojis has been discovered.

YouTube channel EverythingApplePro revealed the crash message bug. It describes how a four-character message could be used to freeze devices running iOS 10.1 or below.

"It's almost scary how much power it puts in your hand," the channel's host said. "You can literally send a text message to any iPhone user on iOS 10 right now, it doesn't matter if it's Obama, it doesn't matter if it's your best friend… as soon as they receive this text on their phone, their phone will immediately hang, freeze and crash."

The message is a white flag symbol, followed by a zero, followed by a rainbow emoji, followed by a hidden character called a variation selector. The bug occurs because the variation selector attempts to tell the receiving device to combine the two emojis into one.

It is the latest Apple software bug that results in a device crashing. One year ago, a website that caused iPhones to overheat and shut down was spread around the internet.

The website worked by overloading the memory of the browser by releasing a self-generating string of text that fills the address bar with thousands of characters. Eventually this causes the browser to shut down.