If someone sends you a message telling you to watch a video on your iPhone, make sure the link doesn’t go to a file named IMG_0942.mp4, possibly hosted by the website VK.com. If it does, it’s a cruel joke, because the video will slow down your phone to the point where it’ll completely stop responding.
The file plays a generic video for about three seconds, complete with sound, and seems innocent enough. However, seconds after the video finishes, the iPhone — or apparently, any Apple iOS device the video plays on, so iPads and iPods aren’t safe either — will slow down, and apps will freeze up. A short while later, the iPhone will be unusable.
Not fun. Thankfully, there is an easy fix if you do get tricked into watching the problematic video. To get it up and working again, the iPhone needs a hard reset. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean erasing all your contacts, photos, and apps; it’s considerably less drastic. It depends on what iPhone model you own as to how this is done. If you have a new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, hold down the power and volume down buttons together until the phone turns off, and the Apple logo appears on screen. If you’ve got an iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, or earlier, hold down the power button and the home button instead.
Why does this happen? No-one seems to know. In a video released by Everything ApplePro, the nasty video affects iPhones with iOS 8 and above, including the new iOS 10 operating system, so it’s unlikely to be a bug that’s inside only the latest phones. The video gives a demonstration of the bug, and also says it could be used as a prank, but we wouldn’t recommend this at all. We really don’t know the origin of the video, or the reason it crashes phones; meaning there may be something more malicious behind it. It’s therefore best to avoid playing the video completely.
If you do happen to play the video, perhaps the link was hidden behind a different URL or the file name had been changed, at least there’s an easy way to get your phone working again. We expect Apple will address whatever causes the bug to lockdown iOS in a future software update. Until then, think twice before opening any suspicious links on your iPhone.