Apple has announced a temporary fix for a bug that breaks users’ iPhones with a single text message, as it works to patch the bug permanently.
Earlier this week, Apple users realised that when iPhones are sent a certain string of characters, it can crash Messages, often forcing the device to reboot entirely. It quickly became abused by pranksters to crash their friends phones, and the Guardian discovered it can sometimes affect Apple Watches, iPads, and Macs too.
The devices have trouble rendering the combination of unicode characters in the message — thus slowing them down or causing them to crash.
Apple’s fix, which we first saw on 9to5Mac, doesn’t immunise users phones — if they’re texted the message again, it can still affect them. But it does allow them to open Messages again, as the app often stops working completely after receiving the message.
- Ask Siri to “read unread messages.”
- Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you’ll be able to open Messages again.
- In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.
Then, users have to hope that one of their friends doesn’t send them the message again, forcing them to repeat the process all over again.
If one more person sends me that stupid turn off your iPhone text I’m gonna be so mad
— Sarah Margo (@sarahcmargo) May 27, 2015
Here’s the text that’s causing the bug:
effective. Power لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗
And here’s a video of it crashing an Apple Watch:
Apple first acknowledged the bug earlier this week, and is working on a permanent fix. A spokesperson told Business Insider that “We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters, and we will make a fix available in a software update.”
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