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Top Story: Emoji text messages crashing iPhones! Rebooting won’t fix the problem

Living in a digital world can be frightening with all of the cybercriminals out there. Data breaches, phishing attacks, and ransomware are just a few things that we always need to be on the lookout for.

Having your gadget impacted by a scammer is bad enough on its own. We definitely don’t need people who we know messing with them. That’s exactly what’s happening with a malicious prank that is going around.

Pranksters are sending people an iMessage that will crash the recipient’s iPhone or iPad. This can affect all versions of iOS 10.

How the malicious text works

A bug was discovered in iOS that can be exploited by anyone who wants to crash someone’s gadget. All the prankster needs to do is create a text message with a specific string of emojis.

The message will include a white flag emoji, the number zero, and a rainbow emoji. This malicious text can’t be created in the iMessage app, it must be put together on a website that was set up for this purpose.

Also, if you receive the text, you cannot copy it and send it to someone else. If you copy and try to paste it, your gadget will immediately crash.

The reason this text crashes the receiving gadget is because iOS is trying to create a rainbow flag with the string of characters. It tries combining all of the emojis from the text into one, which can’t be done and the gadget crashes.

If you are running iOS 9 or an earlier version you will not be affected by this prank. That’s because the earlier iOS versions didn’t have emojis.

How to fix your gadget

The good news is, if your gadget crashes from this iMessage, it doesn’t cause any permanent damage. You simply need to force a reboot and the issue is cleared up.

However, some people have received the malicious message over and over again, causing their gadget to crash each time. I’ll tell you how to fix that problem next.

First, I’ll tell you how to force a reboot:

  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus – Apple changed the way to perform a forced reboot on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. On these models, you press and hold the volume and lock/power buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo.
  • Older iPhones – On iPhone models before the 7 and 7 Plus, to force a reboot just press and hold the home and lock/power buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo.
  • iPads and iPod Touch – Press and hold the home and lock/power buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo.

After rebooting your gadget, open the iMessage app and delete the entire conversation thread with the person that sent you the message. It’s a simple process:

  • Open the iMessage app
  • Go to the home screen
  • Swipe left on the conversation you want to delete
  • Press delete

In most occasions rebooting your gadget and deleting the conversation will clear up this problem for good. If you start receiving the malicious message again and again, you need to block the number that the message is coming from. Here’s how:

  • Open the iMessage app
  • Go to the home screen
  • Select the person you want to block
  • Press the lower case i located in the upper right
  • Press the person’s name on the Details screen
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Block this Caller

Taking these steps will stop the malicious text from crashing your gadget from this sender again. This prank is more annoying than damaging, but you still don’t want to have to deal with it. If anyone you know is hit with this prank, send them here for the fix.

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