The Effective Power bug in iOS explained, or why an obscure message may be causing iPhones to crash

The Effective Power bug in iOS explained, or why an obscure message may be causing iPhones to crash
It goes without saying that the more sophisticated a piece of software is, the higher the chance of something going wrong with it. That's why a bug-free operating system does not exist – even Apple's iOS can be glitchy despite the company's rigorous testing methodologies. The recently discovered Effective Power bug in iOS' Messages app is a perfect example of this. As we reported on Wednesday, receiving a specific string of text may crash an iPhone and render its Messages app useless after the reboot. 

Thankfully, Apple was quick to post a workaround to the bug and confirm that a fix was in the works. But it never revealed what was actually causing iPhones to crash upon receiving the obscure string of text. This allowed for several theories as to what's to blame for the glitch to arise, and the one we'd like to share could really be onto something. 

It is speculated that the root cause of the Effective Power bug could be the way iOS displays incoming message notifications. When a new text arrives, only the first few words are displayed in the notification banner. They're followed by an ellipsis sign (...) indicating that the remainder of the message is hidden. But the malicious piece of text contains a bunch of arabic characters that iOS cannot separate properly. As a result, the portion of text that iOS tries to show in the banner notification ends up being too long to fit, and this in turn causes the phone to crash.

Of course, the theory might be inaccurate in one way or another, but it sure sounds like a plausible explanation. Has your iPhone fallen victim to the glitch? Let us know in the comments section, and check out this guide on how to recover from the "effective power" bug if your Messages app has become inaccessible.


source: Tom Scott (YouTube)

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114 Comments

1. imnotascammer

Posts: 160; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

but..but..I thought iPhone's perfectly without any lags or glitches at all?

2. Ashoaib

Posts: 3282; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

yeah yeah, iphone and iOS are perfect and out of this world. How can be it so much buggy? We only associat the term buggy with android then how come ios is full of bugs? No No, it cant be true... this report is totally fake and a conspiracy from some android or samsung's fan :I

22. eduardogallegos0445

Posts: 18; Member since: Apr 07, 2015

Hahahaha shut up and get it through.

3. ARTE.8800.

Posts: 192; Member since: May 27, 2015

iBugs Lmao

43. power_x

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Attaching an i to any word is really lame now, wake up.

51. Ashoaib

Posts: 3282; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

why not tell this to apple? they are still attaching i to phone and i to OS... what about i to pad and pod?... it means apple is so lame and they need to wake

94. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

OMG!!! That was so funny. What a way to turn it right back on them.

111. Ashoaib

Posts: 3282; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

my pleasure friend... thanks for the appreciation

119. ARTE.8800.

Posts: 192; Member since: May 27, 2015

+1...

114. internationalhouseofwaffles

Posts: 3; Member since: May 27, 2015

Well they did make the Apple Watch instead of the iWatch

53. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

iKnow, right?

10. pavsidhu

Posts: 214; Member since: May 20, 2014

iOS used to have almost no bugs, but the last few iterations Apple has seemed to let a lot more bugs slip into iOS.

13. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

It's simply the reality of developing an ever increasingly more complex operating system. They will continue to get more and more bugs and glitches, and they will get patched, only to be replaced with more with the next major release.

54. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They usually introduce new bugs in the patches for existing bugs, and sometimes also totally fail to patch the bugs they were going after.

12. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

They're no more or less flawed than any of their competitors.

49. waddup121 unregistered

Too powerful haha

61. AnTuTu

Posts: 1612; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

This is not a bug it only turns your phone off and makes messaging app unavailable ~Apple

4. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Let's just try to guess what the problem is. We don't have to guess what is causing the issue. There is a bug let them fix it.

5. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

#messagegate

6. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

It just works. Until it doesn't.

7. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

Patriots incoming. And the rest.

8. uchihakurtz

Posts: 427; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

But what if the language of the user's iPhone was Arabic? Shouldn't it crash all the time? Oh well, popcorn anyone?

11. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

So some kid at my daughter's school texted her the sting of characters that supposedly crashes iPhones, but it didn't impact her, probably because she has an iPod touch with an outdated OS and possibly running an alternate messaging app, I really have no clue to be honest. But she ended up copying the characters and sending them back to the guy who sent it to her and screwed up his phone. Karma's a b*tch!

40. darkkjedii

Posts: 31036; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

When this bug crashes the phone, is the phone rendered useless or does it just crash back to the home screen? I'm asking cause I have really looked into it, or experienced it.

44. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I honestly cannot tell you. It's also something that I haven't looked into but from the way she told the story, it sounded like it required a restart to fix. Someone please correct me if this is inaccurate.

55. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It causes a spontaneous reboot, and the messaging app is borked thereafter. Until you fix it.

67. AlikMalix unregistered

It DOES NOT cause a reboot, just crashes the iMessage app to home screen.

80. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

99. AlikMalix unregistered

Dude I did the same thing a few times - does not crash the phone... But if that's a reboot on the video -- that is one quick reboot, almost like it's not a reboot. But like I said - I tried it a few times and IT DID NOT REBOOT!!! I shared my experience with you in post #65.

112. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It forces a reboot if the phone is on the lockscreen. Why are you arguing, it's being reported everywhere. Here, right from this very site: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Apple-iOS-Messages-bug-also-affects-Snapchat-and-Twitter-users_id69889

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