Having some of the best hardware and software out there, Apple's iPhones and other devices are not prone to bugs and crashes. Ever so often, a bug surfaces in iOS wherein a particular string of text can cause an iPhone or iPad to crash. One such bug consisting of a flag and characters from some exotic language has surfaced recently and has been going viral ever since.
The new bug consists of a text string of characters from the Sindhi language (an Indian Pakistani dialect similar to Urdu) and the Italian flag emoji. For obvious reasons we cannot share the text string, but a screenshot of the problem text string can be seen above.
How the 'Italian flag Sindhi language' text string bug works
Whenever an iPhone or an iPad receives a message or notification containing this string of text , it could cause the devices to crash. According to several posts on Reddit of users who have received the text string, the device would sometimes crash, while other times it will become completely unresponsive to touch input.
And although the new bug seems to be crashing Apple devices running the latest version of iOS i.e. iOS 13.4.1, some reports suggest that it is even causing the Apple Watch, Mac and even Apple TVs to crash or become unresponsive.
Started on Telegram, going viral everywhere
Exact details of how or where this text string bug originated are not known, but based on information shared on Reddit, the character string seems to have originated from a Telegram group. However, the bug is now going viral on Twitter and other social media networks, so it's worth taking note of.
The text string can theoretically spread via notifications from any application including Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, and even Messages on Apple devices.
Works without the flag and vice versa
In addition to this, a video posted by YouTuber 'EverythingApplePro' suggests that the bug can crash your Apple devices easily even with just the Italian flag without the Sindhi characters or just the Sindhi characters without the flag. So either way, it's better to avoid notifications and messages with the flag or the Sindhi characters.
Other text string bugs in the past
Now, this kind of "device-crashing" character bugs are not that uncommon and surface every now and then, but when they become viral and widespread, they can lead to a significant number of users ending up with a malfunctioning or unresponsive iPhone, iPad or any Apple device for that matter.
Case in point, a similar character string had surfaced on the internet back in 2018, involving characters in Telugu (a South Indian language), which caused several thousands of Apple devices to crash before Apple addressed the problem with an iOS update.
Further back in 2015, a text string which came to be known as "effective power" went viral. This one worked when an iPhone user sent the string to another iPhone user and it would cause the Messages app, and sometimes the entire iOS, to crash.
Not much you can do
What's concerning about these text string bugs, including the latest Italian flag one, is that there seems to be very little that the end-users can do about it, since anyone can send them the text randomly due to it going viral and wreak havoc on their Apple devices.
Avoid notifications and messages with the text string
The issue can only be resolved with an iOS update and Apple seems to have released an update for the beta version. Many users have posted on Reddit that the issue has been fixed in the second beta of iOS 13.4.5. Hopefully, Apple releases an update for the public version soon.
Until then, it's advisable that users either disable notifications on all their Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, Macs, and Apple TV, or do not open the notifications or messages with the Italian flag emoji or the Sindhi characters.