Oh, how we laughed at the iPhone users when we found that a single Indian character (జ్ఞా) was able to block their smartphone. But it looks like karma has come back around in the form of a message that is traveling the world via WhatsApp that is able to completely lock your smartphone. The reason for this crash is attributable to a bug in Android.
Time to swallow our pride and prepare ourselves against this threat. Here's how a simple WhatsApp message is able to block your smartphone. The text of the message is as follows:
Not exactly dishonest, but still a dangerous appeal to the human tendency to screw around and press buttons we shouldn't. In fact, the message might even work on other messaging apps. The problem is not related to a WhatsApp bug but to the way Android handles the text. It works on Facebook Messenger but not on Telegram or Chrome as the latter handle the text differently.
Why does this message block my smartphone?
As you probably already imagined, there are no emoji that, if pressed, are able to block a smartphone; this message actually contains hidden characters (about two thousand) that once selected block the application in use and, in the worst case, the entire smartphone.
It seems that the most powerful smartphones of the latest generation can survive the attack by being stuck in the messaging app for just a few seconds and then close it in an anomalous way. If you have an older smartphone, you'll encounter a total lock on your device.
The problem is caused by invisible unicode characters that are normally used to indicate whether the text should be displayed from left to right or right to left; these characters are usually used in languages such as Hebrew or Arabic. In itself these characters have no problem and Android is able to handle them without problems even in the same text.
<⚫> 👈🏻 can't touch this
A bug occurs when a strange combination of these characters changes the orientation of the text repeatedly and hundreds and hundreds of times. Curiously, Android is able to display the message without problems but the crash is caused by the engine that handles the selection of text.
Tapping the message anywhere will activate text selection by crashing the app (or smartphone). As you will have understood, the problem does not concern WhatsApp but Android.
How to unlock your smartphone or prevent it from locking?
On the most modern and powerful smartphones the bug simply blocks WhatsApp (or the application in which you received that message) and you just have to wait for it to close by itself or close it manually. If your entire smartphone is locked, you will need to restart it by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds.
To avoid the problem simply do not click on the message and delete it immediately. Simply receiving the text has no effect and will not crash either WhatsApp or your beloved device.
Have you already received this cheeky message? Let us know your experience in the comments!