A new three-character emoji message that can freeze and crash an iPhone is making the rounds, according to a new report.
The emoji trick was first unveiled on YouTube channel EverythingApplePro. The message consists of three visible emoji — a white flag, a zero and a rainbow — along with an invisible character called variation sector 16. When this message is sent to a phone, the VS16 character tells an iPhone to try and combine two emoji into one — an action which can’t be completed. This, in turn, freezes and crashes the device, BGR reported.
The glitch works instantly, and without any need for a user to interact with the message — once an iPhone receives the message, it immediately freezes and crashes. As seen in EverythingApplePro’s video, even the home button becomes unresponsive. After at least 4 to 5 minutes, an affected iPhone seems to restart on its own, the YouTuber said.
Thankfully, the glitch doesn’t appear to work on every iPhone. Devices running iOS 10.2.1 seem to be immune to the trick — signaling that Apple has patched it in its latest update. Any iPhone running iOS 10 through 10.1.1, however, is at risk. Additionally, the trick is a bit harder to pull off than it might seem: it requires logging into iCloud on a browser, pasting the message into Notes, and sending that Note through iMessage, according to Mashable.
In addition to the crash glitch, the YouTube channel detailed another iMessage that can slow down and momentarily freeze any iPhone — even devices running iOS 10.2.1. Luckily, this iMessage doesn’t seem to be as dramatic as the first.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has had trouble with crash bugs. In 2015, there was a notorious message that could shut down and restart any iPhone that it was sent to. Last year, a corrupted 5-second video clip caused similar slowdown and crash issues when it was viewed on an iPhone.
We don’t recommend that you try this glitch out on your friends — not only is it annoying, but there’s no telling if the glitch can cause permanent damage to an iPhone’s firmware or software. Plus, the web page where the glitch is found is likely to be filled with malware itself, which could put your own devices at risk.
Apple tends to fix these bugs pretty quickly, so it’s likely that the glitch will be patched in an upcoming update.