Effective Power Message: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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An iPhone 6 at the Apple Store on the first day of sales of the new phone on September 19, 2014.(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A newly-discovered iOS bug causes iPhones to crash after a certain type of text message is received. The issue was discovered by Redditor aus10_t8um yesterday after he received the strange text message from a phonebook contact and it caused his iPhone to crash and restart. It was also discovered that same set of symbols used sent as a mobile Twitter direct message caused the same sort of error.

Find out what an effective power message is, what the symbols are used in it to send one, and the quick fix should you receive one here:


1. Sender Has to Know Your Phone Number

The effective power message message symbol string is:

effective. Power لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗

If you send that to someone as a text message or a Twitter DM to their iPhone, it will cause their iPhone to reboot.

Again, the trick only works on the iPhone operating system and to be a victim, a person has to know your phone number or Twitter handle. So you are safe unless your friends are the type that think randomly causing your iPhone to crash is a good prank to pull.


2. There’s A Way to Block It

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(iDownload Blog)

While there’s no way to not receive an effective power message text, there are ways to make sure it doesn’t crash your phone. The brains in the Reddit about the newly discovered iOS error found a few work arounds, namely by turning off notifications. Writes Naughtytonne:

It’s a bug within the Notification System. After a few trials, I found that the phone only resets when the message is received as a drop down notification or in the lock screen.
If the user is viewing their conversations list or is viewing the conversation with the individual who is sending it the phone will not reset.
If the user is in another conversation and receives the message (it will be a drop down) it will reset the phone.

To turn off notifications on your iPhone:

  • Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Tap on Notification Center.
  • Scroll down and find the app you’d like to disable Lock screen alerts for and tap on it.
  • Again, scroll down to the bottom and now turn the option for Show on Lock Screen to Off.
  • Do the same for Twitter.


    3. The ‘Unicode’ Causes the Problem

    While some people have guessed that the Arabic text in the effective power message, it’s probably not. It’s probably unicode symbols after it. Unicode is a character set that computers use to store text. This is what causes the problem with effective power message. Writes Redditor alien_screw:

    It’s the unicode, not the Arabic.
    Reposting my comment from another thread.
    The other part of the text is irrelevant. Although messages is incapable of rendering it, the unicode in that text goes on indefinitely without stopping. Similar to a badly coded, indefinitely counting counter in JavaScript that causes your browser to crash, this causes messages to take up a lot more memory than normal, leading to iOS killing the largest process, the springboard.
    I’m making this hypothesis based on the fact that this crash was successfully done on my jailbroken iPad, but was unable to be done on my phone, where I have more memory allocated to the springboard to help prevent crashes.


    4. The Unicode is Never-Ending

    The reason it’s probably the unicode that causes it to crash is because one of the unicode symbols used in the effective power message is a symbol for infinite. Writes Redditor protocol13:

    Every character you use has a unicode value which tells your phone what to display. One of the unicode values is actually never-ending and so when the phone tries to read it it goes into an infinite loop which crashes it.


    5. It Reminds People of a 1990s AOL Error

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    SAN RAFAEL, CA – AUGUST 2: AOL software CDs are seen August 2, 2006 in San Rafael, California. Internet service provider AOL is offering free email accounts and software that was previously only offered to customers with paid subscriptions in an effort to boost internet access sales. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    The effective power message is reminding older millenials of a similar digital “prank” from the days of American Online Chat Rooms. The code for that was “{s /aux/aux” and it caused a blue screen error on PCs, making everyone in the chat room have to restart their computer and log back into AOL… dial-up and all.

    Apple has announced that it will soon offer a software update to patch the problem.