Malicious link to video causes iPhones to crash

A link to a short video could cause an iPhone or iPad to become unusable and eventually crash. Playing the MP4 video in Safari on any iOS device will cause the device to slow down and then freeze in about 30 seconds. The video itself is hosted on a Chinese Vine-like video-sharing app called Miaopai.

The cause of the problem is still unknown, but it’s likely that a corruption in the file is causing a memory leak in Safari.

The short three-second video clip shows someone standing by a bed with the word “Honey” printed across the screen. The bug doesn’t immediately brick a phone but starts slowing it down after 30 seconds.

A YouTube video by Everything Apple Pro details how the glitch works, which seems to affect all iOS devices but doesn’t appear to have any long-term effects. The problem doesn’t affect users of Android devices, but one user of a Mac running Sierra has said the video crashed their machine.

Should a user’s phone be affected by the video, a hard reboot by holding the power and home buttons should restart the device. On iPhone 7 with the non-mechanical button, users will have to press the power and volume-down buttons. The issue affects versions of iOS from iOS 5 to iOS 10.3 beta.

It is not known if Apple is working on a fix for the problem, but generally in these cases it does get a fix out pretty fast. The bug is similar to last year’s “Effective Power” bug that crashed phones when a text message was sent to victim’s iPhones.

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