iPhone 'prank' video crashes Apple smartphones

New iPhone crash bug caused by a Vine-like Miaopai video locks up devices, rendering them useless without a forced reboot

A link to a video, which when watched slows down any iPhone until it crashes, is being used as the latest iPhone crash prank.

The video from the Sina Weibo-backed video-sharing app Miaopai plays normally in the iPhone’s video player, but once the video is finished it can take up to a minute for the iPhone to lock up, requiring a forced reboot to recover it.

Most people are unaware anything has happened, continuing to use their smartphone until it either won’t turn back on or locks up in an app, the home screen or with a spinning loading logo on a black screen.

The bug, which appears to involve the media handling functions of iOS, affects versions of the operating system as far back as iOS 5 and devices from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 7. The older the smartphone, the faster the lockup occurs.

The lockup is not permanent, but requires a soft reset or forced reboot to recover the functionality of the iPhone.

Video demonstrating the bug with various versions of the iPhone and iOS.

On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus users will need to hold down the power and down volume buttons until they see the Apple logo. On the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus or older Apple smartphones, users need to hold down the power and home buttons until they see the Apple logo.

Once the iPhones reboot, everything appears to function as normal.

Apple’s iPhone has a history of strange links and bugs crashing the device as a prank. In January, a link sent to an iPhone user and opening in Safari would crash the browser and force the smartphone to reboot. The bug also affected Android devices and computers, although to a lesser extent.

Perhaps the most prolific crash bug prank for the iPhone used the “effective power” text message that caused the recipients’ smartphone to crash without needing to be opened.

Apple has not replied to a request for comment.


Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

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