Whenever a malicious text message bug is rampaging through the iPhone of anyone unlucky enough to receive it, you can bet the tech community will spread the news. Apple tends to keep iOS locked up tight, and often the bugs that affect iPhones don’t have any impact on Android devices. However, that’s not the case this time. A new text message bug that causes iOS 10 devices to cash or freeze will do the same thing to Android devices.
How the text message bug affects iOS and Android devices
The ValueWalk team tested this text message bug (second method) on some Android phones and discovered that it’s not just iPhones running on iOS 10 or newer. Android phones are also at risk from the same bug, although the affect seems to be rather more annoying on Android devices than it is on the iPhone. Also while the iOS version of the bug affects iMessage, the Android version applies to WhatsApp because, of course, Android devices don’t have iMessage. Consequently, this bug also affects WhatsApp on iOS.
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This particular malicious text message is only four characters in a certain sequence: a white flag emoji, an invisible GS16 character, a zero and a rainbow emoji. As soon as the iPhone receives the text, it freezes—whether or not its owner has opened the text. Unfortunately, there’s no way to protect your iPhone from it other than blocking people who might send it to you, but the good news is that the phone will automatically unfreeze after about two or three minutes.
Luckily, simply typing the four characters in the right order doesn’t result in the nasty message that freezes the phone, but someone who knows where to find methods to send these texts can do so easily online. They simply download the file, save it on their device, and then send it via WhatsApp or iMessage. (iPhone Method Explained: Here).
Android users will must download this file and import it in the contact list of their phone; once imported then, they share that imported contact with others via WhatsApp. This will freeze WhatsApp on the phones of those it is shared with.
In the case of Android devices, the malicious message freezes them when WhatsApp is opened after it receives the message rather than as soon as it’s received, which is what happens with iOS.
How to fix this bug on WhatsApp in Android
After the Android device crashes and then comes back up, WhatsApp won’t work. The only way to fix the bug and get your Android device back into good working order is to delete the conversation or message from WhatsApp. To do this, just clear your conversations in WhatsApp.
Another option is to uninstall WhatsApp and delete all the data and then reinstall it, but of course that’s a more difficult fix than simply deleting your conversations.