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Apple fixes iPhone crash bug whenever Taiwan was mentioned

11 July, 2018, 19:54 | Author: Rafael Roberts
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However, Tim Cook's coding crew must have been clocking off early for some avocado on sourdough, as they had left a bug lying in the tweaked mobile operating system.

Apple's iOS is closed source, unlike Android.

The bug caused a crash - known as a denial-of-service - when the word "Taiwan" or the Taiwanese flag was mentioned or displayed in any app.

The technology giant confirmed the fix in a security update Monday, after the release of iOS 11.4.1, crediting security researcher Patrick Wardle for the discovery. That made it hard to track down the cause of the bug. It helped to isolating the memory locations that stored a dereferenced null pointer and a faulty instruction that caused it. Wardle also relied on the iPhone's restore image to pull some of the code libraries. Texts featuring the art simply show a "missing" emoji. He had no trouble reproducing the remotely triggerable bug, which crashed any iOS application that processed remote messages, including iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.


Dating back to the start of past year, iOS seemingly included a censorship feature which banished the Taiwanese flag emoji whenever the handset's location is set to China. Wardle also privately reported the bug to Apple. In China, messaging apps didn't crash, but would not display the forbidden emoji.

The filter, apparently, was to block the flag and name of Taiwan from users in the heavily-censored mainland China. Emojipedia also confirms this on its site by saying, "This flag is hidden from the emoji keyboard on iOS devices where the region is set to China". China claims the country as its territory, but Taiwan claims it has the right to self-govern.

China is the most populated country and the largest smartphone market in the world, and Apple would put an extra effort to please the large target audience. These restrictions drove Google to end its Chinese business operations a decade ago.

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