Sony says it has fixed the PS4 message bug that was causing the consoles to crash. The Japanese firm also stated that the viral message exploit wasn’t bricking consoles like some users were reporting. Rather, it was sending them into a crash loop.
What was the issue with the PS4 message bug?
The PS4 message bug first appeared over the weekend, rendering affected machines unusable until users followed a workaround. Players started getting warnings from affected PS4 owners to set their messages to private to protect their console from the PS4 message bug.
Twitter, Reddit and other social forums were filled with warnings from PS4 players that after they viewed a private message containing a string characters, they were forced to reset the console to make it usable again. Some even claimed that just receiving the notification — let alone viewing it — was enough to crash the console. At least one Reddit user found that even deleting the message via the mobile app without looking at it on the console does not work. He said his team members received the message while playing Rainbow Six: Siege.
“A player from the other team used a dummy account to send the message and crashed my entire team,” Reddit user Huntstark said. “We all have had to factory reset. Only one of our guys wasn’t affected and he has his messages private.”
Reddit user BorgDrone noted that it is possible to brick another PS4 using a “message designed to exploit a mistake in the code.” In the thread, the user even explained the technicalities of how the PS4 message bug works.
PS4 message bug fixed now
On Tuesday, Sony acknowledged the issue to the video game news blog VG24/7 and said it was working on a fix.
“We are aware of the situation and are planning a system software update to resolve this problem,” Sony told VG24/7 in an email.
Later, @AskPS_UK, an official PlayStation account on Twitter, provided more clarity on the PS4 message bug, saying that it is now fixed. The tweet also revealed this solution:
We’ve since fixed the issue, and it wasn’t bricking consoles, just sending them into a crash loop that can be quickly fixed in under 5 minutes. Delete the message on the PS mobile app, go into Safe Mode, use Option 5, console back to normal. ^DB
— Ask PlayStation UK (@AskPS_UK) October 15, 2018
Affected users can go to the PS Messages app available on iOS and Android or access it from the My PlayStation site to delete the PS4 message. Next, users will have to reboot the console in safe mode and reconstruct the database.
As a precaution, PS4 users can set their messages to private in case a similar PS4 message bug ever strikes again. To set your messages to private, go to the Account Management menu > Privacy Settings > Personal Info. From there, change the message settings to either “Friends Only” or “No One.”
Sony clearly doesn’t want to make a big deal out of the exploit. That’s probably why it never issued a press release to announce the fix. Sony didn’t even publicly acknowledge the issue, except for the email sent to one tech site.
However, users do need more clarification on the PS4 message bug, including assurance that similar exploits won’t occur in the future. It would be better if Sony offers a more detailed explanation rather than summing it up in a tweet.
Apple faced similar bugs before
Sony is not the only company to have been affected such a messaging bug. Earlier this year, a similar message on the iPhone caused messaging and email apps to crash multiple times. Apple soon patched the issue by updating iOS.
The bug was first discovered in iOS 11 and allowed people to send a specific string of characters to crash the iPhone. The bug also blocked access to popular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook and others. The bug even worked on the macOS versions of Safari and Messages.
That was also not Apple’s first encounter with such a bug. Earlier this year, many users complained that clicking a single link was freezing their iPhone. However, Apple was quick to address the issue with the release of iOS 11.2.
In 2015, a small string of text disabled iMessage for many users, and in 2016, a five-second video was enough to crash iPhones. In December 2017, another bug in iOS 11 crashed iPhones. At the time, Apple issued a major iOS update just hours after the first reports about the bug.