Researchers Discover a Single Letter Can Crash the iPhone

Apple’s texting software has taken a real beating of late. The ChaiOS bug revealed a single link can crash your phone, a consistent problem across the iPhone’s history. Now, researchers have discovered a bug that’s even worse. One single character, from the Telugu language spoken in India, can not only crash your iPhone, but also your computer and your Apple Watch. In fact, it’ll make it impossible for you to text, at all.

As Engadget lays out, the issue is simply that apps can’t figure out how to load the character, which overwhelms them and forces them to shut down. In fact, the character, when pasted into not just iMessage but most messaging or email apps on iOS, doesn’t just crash the app, but also the underlying software that runs texting on the iOS platform. And because you can’t delete the character, that effectively means the app is toast until you find a way to delete the thread:

…once the character has been received by iMessage, Facebook Messenger et al, that app will continue to crash every time you try to load it up again, effectively shutting you out. Your only hope is to find a way to delete the message or email from another device to free your iPhone from its cycle of trying and failing to load the character.

The good news is that this only affects iOS 11.2.5, and it should be fixed relatively quickly by Apple, much like its other texting bugs, and unless you regularly interact with somebody who corresponds in Telugu, you’re unlikely to stumble over it accidentally. Still, it’s a good reminder that even the best tech companies can’t think of everything, and there will be plenty of fixes in the future. Get ready for more updates!

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