A seemingly harmless video circulating online could mean a big headache for any Apple customer who mistakenly tries to play it, as the roughly five-second clip results in the eventual slowing down and freezing of any iOS device that displays it in Safari. That means all models of iPhones and iPads are at risk, reports 9to5Mac.
We're not going to link to the video, though a video of the video (embedded below — it won't mess with your phone) shows the short clip and subsequent freezing in action. No one is quite sure at the moment as to how this is happening, although 9to5Mac suspects that "the likely reason is that it’s simply a corrupted video that’s some sort of memory leak and when played, iOS isn’t sure how to properly handle it, but there’s like [sic] more to it than that."
The Verge confirms that the MP4 file really will mess up iPhones, with the first signs of trouble happening about ten seconds after the video is played.
This brings to mind the iPhone text bug discovered in May of last year which allowed unscrupulous individuals to turn off someone's iPhone simply by texting it a specific string of characters. The glitch this time around is even more of a pain, however, as a hard reset is required to fix the problem. Thankfully, the bug doesn't appear to cause any permanent damage to iOS devices — although that too is just speculation at this point (meaning, there could be some long-term effects).
So, don't open up any random or suspicious video links from people you don't trust, or from especially jerky friends — something that you shouldn't be doing anyway.