A New Text Bug Crashes iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches

A photo of the exploit in action.
Aldeca Productions/Shutterstock

A new text-bomb is crashing iOS and macOS devices. The string of text, which contains Italian flag emojis and Sindhi-language characters, works through device notifications, text messages, social media posts, and websites.

If you want to avoid the text-bomb, you should turn off device notifications and avoid social media until Apple sends out a fix. Encountering the bug will not brick your device, but it will crash the iOS Springboard or macOS Launchpad. In some instances, the problem resolves itself, but you may need to forcibly reboot your device to get back to the home screen.

To forcibly reboot an iPhone or iPad, hold down the volume and power keys for ten seconds. On an Apple Watch, you need to hold down the power button and Digital Crown for ten seconds to force a reboot. And you already know how to power down a Mac, right? Just hold down the power key.

Text-bombs exploit some kind of vulnerability in Apple’s Springboard and Launchpad—the software that manages apps on iOS and Mac devices. It’s possible that emoji and Arabic-based characters, which are encoded using long strings of Unicode, can overwhelm Apple’s launching software when strung together in unusual, intentionally exploitative fashions.

According to MacRumors, phones on the newest iOS 13.4.5 beta are immune. Apple may push the beta update to regular users this week, or write out a quick patch to resolve today’s text bug.

via engadget


Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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