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This article was published on May 27, 2015

The bug that can crash iPhones with a single message is back

The bug that can crash iPhones with a single message is back
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

A major bug found in the latest version of iOS causes phones to crash when they receive a special/malicious text message.

If someone sends you the below string of Arabic characters via SMS or iMessage, it can cause the Messages app to stop working and can take down the phone entirely if it appears in a lock screen notification.

لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗

The bug appears to be related to how iOS processes Unicode text for banner notifications using the CoreText API.

It affects iOS 7 and iOS 8 right now and the only fix is to send a photo or piece of text to the original sender using the share sheet in another app.

This isn’t the first time a Unicode bug has affected iOS in this exact way. Apple is reportedly aware of the issue and is already working on a fix.

➤ iPhone security vulnerability [Reddit]