Discovered: the Apple bug that will crash your iPhone

A bug designed to crash your iPhone could be more serious than people think, according to security experts.

The glitch is not a virus, but rather a bug in the iPhone caused by the way Apple devices process specific characters in text alerts.

First identified on Reddit, news of the problem spread to other social media channels, as users apparently began to prank others with the message.

Mark James, security specialist at ESET, said: "This bug manifests itself when banner notifications are switched on for SMS messages and then displayed on your phone. The resulting action is not able to be fully displayed, thus a reboot is the only option.

"This does not necessarily mean it's a security flaw or indeed an exploitation bug but Apple will none the less try and rectify this as soon as they possibly can."

Apple has said it is aware of the issue, and is currently looking for a fix. For a temporary solution, users can turn off notification previews (settings > notifications > messages > show previews) to avoid the phone running into trouble with how it displays banner messages.

But while Apple fans are using the glitch as a way to annoy their friends, security experts believe it could prove more serious - cutting out companies' ability to communicate via iPhones.

"This is essentially a remote denial of service vulnerability, using SMS as the vector," Tim Erlin, director of product management at Tripwire, warned. "The ability to remotely disable someone's iPhone could be useful in targeted attacks.

"Imagine if an organisation's information security team was suddenly unable to communicate while an attack on their organisation was being carried out. There are likely other ways to exploit this vulnerability, though it's unclear if they might be useful to attackers. Time will tell if security researchers or Apple discover them first."

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at