​Malicious 'Text Bomb' Is Crashing People's Phones

A mysterious 'text bomb' is causing Apple devices to crash, leaving people unable to access their messages.

The bug has been affecting iPhone, iPads, Macs and other devices running iOS 11.2.5, and involves a specific character from the Indian language of Telugu being sent to handsets.

Once the recipient opens the message containing the character, the bug is then activated, and disables access to iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook and Gmail.

It also causes iOS Springboard - the system application that manages a device's home screen - to crash. All in all, it's a bit naff.

The bug has been dubbed a 'text bomb', and was first reported on Italian blog Mobile World.

Giuseppe Tripodi, a tech writer for the blog, said: "The error we are talking about presents an Indian character that, if received or simply pasted in a text field, can lead to freeze of applications or crashes of the entire operating system.

"If the character is displayed within an application, the app in question will crash and will continue to close each time you try to start it.

The Indian character that causes the crash
The Indian character that causes the crash

"The situation gets worse if someone sends you the symbol and iOS tries to show it in a notification. In this case, the entire Springboard will be blocked."

Tripodi also tweeted to say that because of the bug, Apple has 'a new, big problem', and that it can leave iPhones and iPads unusable.

The offending character is used in the written version of a Dravidian language in India, which is spoken by approximately 70 million people, 7 News reports.

As apps try and repeatedly fail to load the character, users end up getting trapped in an endless loop of crashes.

If you do get sent the character, you should get someone else to message you and delete the message and the thread containing it.

"Wait and hope that the Springboard will restart properly," Tripodi writes. "Because if you force a reboot of the device, it will bootloop."

It's hoped that the problem will be fixed with the new iOS11.3, but that's not due to be released in the next few months, so in the meantime you'll just have to keep an eye out for what people are sending you.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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