A YouTuber has finally explained the mystery of a bizarre Instagram story that freezes your iPhone when you watch it, and no it’s not that it’s cursed.
For those who haven’t yet experienced this extremely weird occurrence, the vid in question can be found on the Instagram account @pgtalal. Although, please don’t look.
When viewed on an iPhone, the story just shows one line of Arabic and doesn’t immediately present anything too eye-catching or interesting. However, many iPhone users have found that their device immediately froze after they viewed the story, causing a widespread freak-out.
Now, I’m the sort of person who is eternally frustrated by technology, and so I’m not going to test this one out. Also, it’s apparently – unsurprisingly – not too good for your phone, so I’d give it a miss if I was you, unless you have multiple back-up phones at your disposal.
Anyway, after ‘a few too many sleepless nights’, YouTuber Mrwhosetheboss, real name Arun Maini, and a group of friends managed to figure out the ‘Who? What? How? And Why?’ and were able to ‘recreate it’.
Maini, ‘whose life’s passion is Technology’, explained:
Here is the top level summary. There is an account called @pgtalal. He has two main Instagram stories on his page, and if you click them, you will have a wildly different experience depending on what kind of device you’re on.
Android users will see ‘a plain purple screen with confetti’, and will hear a song called Your Love. Maini noted that, unlike other Instagram stories, you can’t pause this one by placing your finger on it, remarking, ‘it’s almost like this person is taking over your phone’.
Check it out below:
iPhone users will click on the exact same story only to see a grey screen emblazoned with a line of Arabic text, and will be left with a ‘completely unresponsive’ phone.
Recalling a previous video he’d uploaded about a wallpaper that crashed phones when applied, Maini explained that – in that instance – it ‘was an accident’, while this new mystery felt deliberate.
He noted that if anyone could pull off a deliberate trick like this, this guy could. Proclaiming to be a full-stack developer, this would mean @pgtalal would have both front end and back end developer experience.
Maini installed Instagram on a variety of smartphones to test out the reaction of each device when the story was played. It was found that every single one of the iPhones crashed as soon as the story was opened, even high end ones.
When running the same test on iPhones, Maini found that – although flagship Android phones were fine – mid-range smartphones struggled to remain responsive, and cheap Android phones crashed just like the iPhones.
It was at this point that Maini contacted developers, including undergraduate security research assistant at Arizona State University, Ananay Arora. After combining their expertise, it was found that the story consisted of a countdown timer plus an Instagram quiz.
The error occurred because Pgtalal used an HTTP proxy to manipulate the width and height of the UI elements of the story. The purple confetti screen seen by Android users is therefore the zoomed-in version of the timer. iPhones weren’t able to render this, leading to the widespread crashing.
Incredibly, Pgtalal, also known as Talal, actually replied to Maini and isn’t who you’d imagine him to be. He is only 14 years old and has been coding since he was 11. Understandably a bit bored by being stuck at home, the teenager had decided to get up to a bit of mischief, coding-style.
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Topics: News, crash, iPhone, mobile phones, Now