New iOS bug causes iPhones to crash when sent message containing Indian character

A new bug has been discovered in Apple’s iOS software which causes iPhones to crash when sent an Indian character in a message.

The character, from the Telugu language spoken by around 70m people in India, blocks access to the app displaying it – including Messages, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger – and can cause the device to shut down.

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Attempting to restart the phone may cause it to bootloop, or attempt to restart continuously with no success.

The bug was spotted by Italian site, which claims it also affects the Apple Watch’s operating system watchOS and macOS desktop applications, alongside iPhones running iOS 11.2.5.

Skype and Telegram messaging apps appear to be unaffected by the bug. All public iOS betas are safeguarded, and Apple has confirmed a fix will be released in a forthcoming software update for other versions of iOS, prior to the iOS 11.3 download expected in the spring.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we strongly suggest that you do not try to replicate the bug on your devices or send it to your contacts,” author Giuseppe Tripodi wrote.

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“The character in question can cause serious problems and, in almost all our tests, after the Springboard crash the iPhone went into bootloop and we had to perform a reset from DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) mode.”

The character which causes iOS to crash

A similar bug, dubbed chaiOS, was uncovered by software developer Abraham Masri last month. The bug was triggered by sending a string of code to an iPhone in an iMessage, Apple’s internet-based text messaging system.

The recipient doesn’t even need to open the link to activate the bug – once the message is received, it can cause the device to freeze for several minutes, restart and or drain the battery, Masri found.

The bug also affected Mac computers, causing the Safari web browser to crash.

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As ever, the best method of defence against all kinds of bug is to regularly update your phone, tablet and computer’s software.

Manufacturers add fixes to all kind of bugs regularly, so ensuring you’re running the most recent version is the best form of protection.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews

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