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This text message called the ‘Unicode of Death’ will crash your iPhone

The scariest line of characters on the internet right now makes absolutely no sense, but will crash your iPhone nonetheless.

Word on the web is that Apple’s CoreText API can’t render a specific string of non-sensical characters, so whenever an incoming message containing the mysterious text is displayed as a banner alert or notification, the system will restart.

As Ars Technica verified, this means that web browsers and other apps running on current versions of iOS and OS X are also affected.

Some Apple users have even reported that third party apps like WhatsApp and Instagram as well as their email crash when trying to preview the message.

An Apple spokesperson told The Guardian: “We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update.”

First unraveled by a group of some curious, some angry Reddit users, the so-called UniCode of Death looks like this:

Unicode of Death

It’s a combination of English, Arabic, Marathi and Chinese

Without enticing you to crash your friends’ iPhones, if you were really curious you can just search Twitter with the hashtag #UniCodeOfDeath and find the dodgy characters on your own accord.

If you find yourself on the other side of the spectrum — as a victim of this attack — do the following: under your device’s settings, go to Notifications, then Messages, and turn Show Previews off.

While this is both weird and wonderful, the thing that baffles us the most is how someone has managed to discover this bug in the first place.

Author | Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter
Jacques grew up in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Keen to take over the world, one word at a time, he has always been interested in both politics and development and studied International Relations (BA) at Stellenbosch University. With an interest in innovation and social change, he seeks to tell the... More

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Hall

    May 28, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    “seize to work”…?

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