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iPhones crash, reboot after receiving specific text message

By
Marilyn Malara
A peculiar string of text characters sent to an iPhone from an iPhone has the power to crash, even reboot the device without warning. Apple says it is working to provide a reliable fix to the problem. Photo by Skylines/Shutterstock
A peculiar string of text characters sent to an iPhone from an iPhone has the power to crash, even reboot the device without warning. Apple says it is working to provide a reliable fix to the problem. Photo by Skylines/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, May 27 (UPI) -- A bug affecting Apple's iOS system is forcing iPhones to crash and even reboot after receiving a specific string of text characters.

First reported on Reddit, the phenomenon features a mix of English words and Arabic characters placed strategically in a way that crashes the Messages app and notification center on some iPhones. Hacker News reports that it only works when sent from iPhone to iPhone.

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iPhones that receive the text message using Messages will not be able to return to other conversations without crashing the app.If the text message is viewed on the lock screen, HN says the Messages app may not open and possibly reboot the phone without warning.

In order to undo the effect of the peculiar bug, MacRumors says users can try these methods:

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"If the Messages app was opened to the conversation with the person who sent the offending message, the Messages app can be reopened to this conversation. Sending a reply message fixes the problem.

If Messages was open to the conversation list view, the app will crash when you attempt to open it. You can fix this by having someone send you a message or by sending a message to yourself.

To send yourself a message in Siri, tell Siri to "Send a message to myself." Siri will open a dialogue where you can give her a quick message like "Fix" that'll be sent to your iPhone to clear away the malicious message.

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Alternatively, you can open an app like Notes, craft a quick note, and use the Share option (the little document with an arrow) to message it to yourself. Sending yourself something though the share sheet of an app opens a new messages window where you can enter your own contact information."

Apple released a brief statement to iMore regarding the phenomenon saying it is aware of the issue "caused by a specific series of unicode characters," and promises to make a fix available in an upcoming software update.

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