A trio of characters contained in a simple text message -- that is all it takes to deactivate (thankfully temporarily) an iPhone unit. This was revealed as much by an online hacker recently (via the YouTube channel EverythingApplePro). So which characters exactly will cause pandemonium on Apple’s smartphones? They include a white flag emoji, a “0” and a rainbow emoji.
But what exactly happens when an iPhone device receives this harmful text message? Well, for starters, the unit will freeze. Specifically, the Messages app will stop responding, and for a select number of iPhone handsets, the touch screen as well as the physical buttons will be rendered completely unusable. Some uses are even left with no choice but to reboot their iPhones after receiving the text message.
The sad thing is -- a few obnoxious folks have already taken to using the three character text message as a nasty prank. Victims of such pranks often are held helpless, with no way to stop the prank from happening in the first place, and when it does happen, they would have to deal with all the inconvenience of having one’s iPhone device rendered useless. Blocking the offending sender of the text message is a wise decision, but doing so is sort of a too little, too late effort.
If it provides any comfort, iPhone owners should know that the text message prank is restricted to the newest versions of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, specifically version 10.0 or newer versions. This is due to the fact that the prank takes full advantage of the extremely complicated way that iOS renders the rainbow flag emoji within the environment of the Messages app. Not many people know this, but the rainbow flag emoji is actually not an official emoji. Thus, in rendering this particular character, Apple has to merge the code behind the white flag emoji and the rainbow flag emoji, or at least as speculated by online hacker vincedes3. When both already tricky emojis are rendered in a single text message, the result is that the receiving machine (the iPhone) gets confused as to how to combine the two emoji. Unable to comply with the instructions, the iPhone proceeds to crash.
Even the act of copying and pasting the text message on an iPhone device causes lots of problems, especially on the Messages app, which could become unresponsive. What pranksters generally do is to use their desktop Apple devices in order to transmit the text message from the Messages app to unsuspecting victims.
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