Over the last few months, a lot of malicious text messages have surfaced that could cause your iOS 10 device to crash or freeze. Now a new text message has been found that freezes your iPhone or iPad running the iOS 10-10.2.1. Fortunately, your device regains consciousness automatically within 2-3 minutes.

iOS 10.3
Image Credit: Apple Inc. (Screenshot)

Four characters that can freeze your iOS 10 device

The text message consists of only four characters in a specific sequence, explains YouTube channel EverythingApplePro. These are a white flag emoji, a VS16 character which is not visible, a zero, and a rainbow emoji. The iPhone freezes as soon as it receives the text, even if the recipient hasn’t opened or read the message. It’s just a minor bug rather than a major concern. Apple is yet to comment on the issue.

Creating and sending this text isn’t as easy as typing on your smartphone. There are two methods to create the text. One of them requires the use of a computer, and harms recipient devices running iOS 10-10.1.1. The second method doesn’t require a computer, but it is far more complex and time-consuming. It works across all versions of the iOS 10, including 10.2.1 betas.

Here’s how the bug works.

When you type the white flag emoji, the VS16 character, the digit ‘0’, and the rainbow emoji, the VS16 character instructs the iOS 10 to combine them. In this case, the white flag and zero are supposed to be combined to form a “rainbow flag.” The rainbow flag character is a combination of the white emoji and rainbow emoji. But the operating system gets confused in the process.

There is no way to protect your iDevice from receiving the text except for blocking people who have a notorious history of sending similar texts to you. Learning the trick doesn’t mean you can play a prank on your friends and family. There should be a sense of responsibility. The video would prove useful if someone has sent you the questionable text. Normally, your device should unfreeze and restart in a few minutes.

How to fix it

You need to delete the thread that contains the malicious text after your device restarts. In some cases, the Messages app may fail to load. Fortunately, you can get the Messages app back by following these steps:

  • Launch Safari browser on your affected iPhone or iPad
  • Head over to vincedes3.com/save.html
  • It brings up a dialog box that says “Open this page in Messages”
  • Select Open from the dialog box and it will take you to the Messages app
  • Delete the malicious thread and exit out of the Vincedes thread the tool creates within the app

Apple is expected to push out a software update soon fixing the bug.