Much of the Internet spent this week focused on a malicious iOS bug that causes the entire operating system to crash when a certain string of Arabic text was received. Apple has yet to fix the bug, nor has it even commented on what causes the weird behavior. There’s been a lot of speculation as to why the crash occurs, but a new video from YouTuber Tom Scott does arguably the best job.
In the video, Scott points out that in the Arabic script, each letter has several different forms depending on where it is used in a word. In some cases, when a second Arabic character is added to a phrase, the two characters become separate and narrow. When you cut that combination in half, the text becomes wider than what you started with. Scott explains that when iOS tries to cut the Arabic text down so that it can appear in a notification banner, it gets confused due to the text becoming bigger, rather than smaller, when cut.
The video is rather interesting and does a great job at explaining what most likely causes this weird iOS Messages bug. Watch it above. Apple has said that it is aware of the bug and has offered some temporary workarounds until it rolls out a fix.