An iPhone bug is wreaking havoc on the phones of some people who receive certain text messages in Arabic. So if you received an Arabic message on your iPhone recently and suddenly your phone is crashing a lot, then you’ve fallen victim to the hoax.
iPhone bug related to iOS Unicode
Apple Insider reports that this latest iPhone bug is related to Unicode characters that are in Arabic being received through Apple’s iMessages app. The bug causes the iPhone to randomly restart, locks the user out of iMessages, and causes Springboard to crash and other problems.
Reddit users discovered that the crashing and rebooting problems are related to the iOS Unicode handling. Apparently the issue deals with how the Unicode string that’s texted belongs to a bigger text blog that notifications can’t fully render.
For crashing anyone's iPhone paste the below text in #imessage and send #iPhoneBug
?????????????????? ? ?h ? ?
— Sheeraz Raza (@SheerazRaza) May 27, 2015
The iPhone bug only happens when a text message with the Unicode string is sent from one iPhone to another through the iMessages app, which means the bug must have something to do with iOS Notifications. Also the recipient’s iPhone must be locked, which results in the notification being put on the lock screen or as a dropdown. It should also be noted that the bug doesn’t happen with just any set of Arabic letters. It’s a very specific string that triggers the iPhone bug.
Fixes for the iPhone bug
Although some are apparently suggesting that the problem can be fixed by shutting down iMessages previews for Notifications, Apple Insider reports that their tests have shown this to be ineffective. The website also reports that after iMessages crashes, receiving a new message, sending a picture from your Photos app or sending yourself a message through Share Sheets will fix it.
Forbes contributor Amit Chowdhry also suggests having the person who played the prank on you send you another text message. He also suggests using Siri or a Mac to send yourself a message. If using Siri, the process is as simple as telling it to “send a message to myself” and then adding something brief like “hello.”
Not the first time for this iPhone bug
If this iPhone bug seems familiar, you’re right. Chowdhry also reports that this same bug happened to iOS 6 and OS X 10.8 in August 2013. At that time, the issue was related to the CoreText rendering engine that was part of the two operating systems.
The problem caused crashes in an app that attempted to render a specific set of Arabic characters. Unfortunately it wasn’t fixed until iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 were released, which suggests that it may take Apple some months before to roll out a permanent fix for this iPhone bug as part of iOS 9. Apple also used iOS 7 to fix another bug in iOS 6 that allowed iPhone hacking.