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PSA: You might freeze your iPhone if you tap Control Center with three fingers simultaneously

A Reddit user uncovered a very-hard-to-reproduce bug in iOS 10.3.1 that could cause an iPhone to freeze up for a few seconds and then respring. It takes a lot of tries, and basically seems only possible to do when you're actually trying to do so, but it exists, and can be reproduced, so I'm letting you know about it.

Don't worry, it's not a major issue, and you probably won't ever trigger this bug unless you do it on purpose.

When you tap three fingers on three different sections in Control Center simultaneously, it might cause your iPhone to freeze up.

The freeze happens under different circumstances. I pressed AirDrop, Night Shift, and the Camera on my iPhone 7 Plus to produce the bug, but had to press AirPlay, Night Shift, and the Camera on my iPhone SE. Others have reported that it happens when pressing AirPlay, Night Shift, and the Calculator or AirPlay, Night Shift, and the Timer.

It freezes for just a few seconds, and then resprings — or reloads the system. It doesn't shut down or restart. When it reloads, you don't even have to enter your Passcode to unlock your iPhone. You can use Touch ID, which is a clear sign that the system didn't shut down or restart.

If you decide to try to reproduce the bug and your iPhone freezes, but doesn't respring, make sure you know how to fix a frozen iPhone

It appears to affect all models of iPhone 5s and newer. I was able to reproduce the bug on my iPhone 7 Plus and my iPhone SE. Some Reddit posters noted that it happened on iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7. One commenter said he was able to reproduce the bug on an iPhone SE running iOS 10.2.

We filed a Radar with Apple [31816771]. It's possible that it's already been fixed with the latest iOS 10.3.2 beta, but Apple might not have even known of its existence before today. They know now, and will likely fix it in an update soon.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

7 Comments
  • Ironically, this is probably more of a sign of good development than bad. The iPhone's multitouch interface allows you to control multiple things on the interface simultaneously, allowing you to have 1 finger touching one part of the screen and the other finger activating a control, whereas on other devices the first finger might block the second finger from activating a control. It's just this is a very easily overlooked situation where two functions can collide and cause a crash
  • Just tried it on my iPhone 5s and it worked so it's not only 6 and higher.
  • I imagine it'll happen on any that are on iOS 10, including iPads
  • Lol... no Even if the OS / homescreen UI, tries to do 2 things at once, it shouldn't crash the phone. It should not allow itself to get into an inconsistent state. It should be able to handle situations where multiple touch events happen simultaneously and trigger conflicting requests... and it DOES... because this is a bug, and not indicative of how the OS normally behaves... not indicative of good programming. It's a bug... end of story
  • On a normal computer, you can usually only do one action at once in terms of using controls on an interface. The multi-touch screen on the iPhone and iPad allow multiple things to be done, but it's very difficult for Apple to test all the different combinations. I never said it wasn't a bug, but it's a bug that's appeared out of a really useful multi-touch feature on iOS
  • Just tried it on my iPhone 5s and it worked so it's not only 6 and higher.
  • Thanks for letting us know about your experience. I've updated the post.