Anyone running iOS 6 on their iPhone may have to be extra cautious with their Twitter stream today, as a string of text has been found that can cause the mobile operating system to instantly crash.
Tech Crunch reports that a bug is causing a particular string of Arabic characters to crash both iOS 6 as well as OS X 10.8, the most recent publicly-available operating system for Macs. It appears that the bug doesn’t happen in the upcoming iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 Mavericks, both to be released this fall.
Here is a picture of the text, if you’re curious:
This bug was discovered yesterday and posted to a Russian website, which claims that Apple has known about the problem for six months. While there is no proof that Apple has been negligent in fixing the situation, it’s at least encouraging to see that the new operating systems won’t be impacted by this bug.
[ More Right Click: iOS 7 expected to hit September 10, leaked email shows ]
As for how a single line of text can make your iPhone have a nervous breakdown, it’s because the bug has to do with Apple’s CoreText rendering engine, the code that helps your device display text. Any app that uses WebKit, like Safari, will crash as soon as the text appears. Users can be affected if they try to load the text in an SMS, on a web page, or even looking at it in their Twitter timelines, although TweetBot for iOS seems to be unaffected.
Facebook is apparently already aware of the problem, as any posts attempting to use that string of characters will be blocked from being sent.
This particular set of Unicode characters isn’t likely to pop up in your normal conversations, so unless you have people you follow on Twitter or who send you messages that are actively trying to crash your phone or computer, you should be safe.
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