iPhone crash? Might have been China’s dislike for Taiwan’s flag | Tech Security

iPhone crash? Might have been China’s dislike for Taiwan’s flag

Flag of The Republic of China

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A censorship feature used in Apple software reportedly had a bug that crashed iPhones when an emoji of the Taiwanese flag was displayed. 

Since the beginning of 2017, Apple’s iOS mobile software has reportedly contained a censorship function that disappears the Taiwanese flag emoji when an iPhone’s location setting is switched to China, which doesn’t recognize the island’s independence. Texts featuring the art simply show a “missing” emoji. 

Security researcher Patrick Wardle found that a bug in the code would sometimes consider the Taiwan emoji to be an invalid input, rather than an element missing from the phone’s library, according to Wired. The bug caused iPhones to crash.  

Wardle informed Apple about the bug and helped the company fix it, which Apple noted in a security update on Monday. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The bug enabled anyone to crash a vulnerable device by merely sending a text message with the Taiwanese flag. 

Apple has reportedly catered to the Chinese government before, moving Chinese Apple users’ data to servers within the country, as well as removing some VPNs from the App Store in China.

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