Specific Text Message Disables iPhones - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

NEWS

Specific Text Message Disables iPhones

Posted: Updated:

A particular string of character sent by text message can cause an iPhone's messaging app to crash, or shut down the phone.

The message, revealed on Reddit late Tuesday, seems to exploit an inability of the app's preview feature to correctly render the characters, which are not the standard alphanumerics or emoticons one typically texts. After repeated attempts, the app crashes, leaving the user unable to send or receive texts as usual.

If the message is received while the phone is on the lock screen, it causes the phone to reboot.

Many iPhone owners took to Twitter Wednesday complaining they were hit.

Users on Reddit reported that the text also works via the messaging app WhatsApp and that it affects Apple Watches as well as iPhones.

CNET senior editor Jeff Bakalar described the exploit as a popular prank that can only be perpetrated by someone who has your phone number. "It's probably not going to happen to you unless someone you know, who has your number, targets you," he told CBS News.

And because the string is specific and unusual, it's unlikely to be sent by accident.

There are ways to fix the lockout, or prevent it from happening.

"The person who sent you the message can send you a followup, and that seems to undo the damage," Bakalar explained. "Or, if you have a Mac, you can log into your computer and have Siri send you a text message to wake it up."

It can be avoided by disabling notification alerts, according to some Reddit posters.

Similar tricks have popped up in the past and Apple has been quick to fix them with an update.

Special Features

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Politics

Breaking political news & the latest headlines from the state capitol & D.C.

Radars

See where weather is happening using our live interactive radars.

Technology

Spend your money wisely with reviews of new tech gadgets & the latest news in technology.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive
Powered by Frankly
News 9
7401 N. Kelley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
News9.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 KWTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.