So, it emerged earlier on today that by sending a specific arrangement of mixed English and Arabic characters, one could crash the iPhone or iPad of another by sending said malicious code via iMessage or SMS. The recipient's device would react by crashing, re-springing, rebooting, or exhibiting some other form of erratic behavior, and while plenty have had fun DOSing their friends, many of those on the receiving end have been inundated with messages exploiting the bug. Gratefully, there are one or two workarounds, so if you've had your day interrupted by this unwelcome, text-based visitor, here are a dew steps you can take.
The bug only comes into force when the malicious message is received, but with news of the problem having gone viral, it hasn't taken long for thousands, if not more, to have been affected by this. Apple has yet to release an official statement on the matter, although in these situations, tends to be quick to act, particularly when the reputation of its mobile platform is in apparent jeopardy.
Still, until such time as a fix arrives in the form of an iOS update, users must fend for themselves, and if you want to minimize the effects of this bug, there are a couple of things you should know.
How To Stop The iOS Messages Bug Crashing Your Device
- Firstly, if you get a notification when using your device and you can see that the message contains the malicious code, don't open it. If you get such a notification on your lock screen, it's likely that your device will crash anyway, and may even lock you out of the Messages app entirely.
- If you have a Mac, you can reply to the thread containing the malicious characters, and this should reverse the effects. If you don't have a Mac, you can instend send yourself a message using Siri or a share sheet to "break the spell."
This isn't one of those MSN-style bugs that hops automatically from user to user like some kind of infection. The only way you'll receive the message is if somebody deliberately sends it to you, knowing that you have an iPhone and that it will crash. In short, if you've been plagued by these messages throughout the day, you should probably get some new friends.
We should probably mention that while this iOS bug may be annoying, it does not cause any permanent harm to your device. Despite the strange reaction, your iOS device is not getting a virus, malware, or anything to that effect, so rest assured that once Apple does push an update, you should be okay. Moreover, none of your personal data is in jeopardy, and your security is not compromised as a result of receiving this text.
Still, it's pretty darned irritating, and given the media coverage over the past few hours, don's be surprised if an iOS update is seeded in the very near future.