Apple's iOS software quality is being called into question again this week, following the discovery of a five-second video that will force an iPhone to lock up and freeze. Reddit users discovered the bug yesterday, and all an iPhone user needs to do is click an MP4 file and watch it to experience the problem. The Verge has tested the bug on multiple iPhones running the latest iOS 10.1 updates, and beta copies of iOS 10.2. All of our test phones locked up shortly after playing the video.
In our video demonstration of the bug above, you'll see that a link to the video, delivered via iMessage, will make iOS 10 play the file in the default player. It appears that the video is corrupt, generating a loop that causes the iPhone to crash around 10 seconds after watching it. We're not linking to the video for obvious reasons, but it appears to only crash devices when it's sent as a link rather than simply transferred as a file. The only way to recover from the crash is to hold the power button and home button at the same time to perform a hard reset. An iPhone will work as normal once it has rebooted this way.
This isn't the first time that a crash bug has been discovered in iOS. Last year, a string of text disabled Apple's iMessage app on iPhones, and the company addressed the problem with iOS 8.4. Earlier this year, Safari started randomly crashing on iPhones due to a software issue that was quickly resolved. We've reached out to Apple to comment on the crash problem, and we'll update you accordingly. For now, be wary of any links to MP4 files that you receive from friends trying to prank you.