A bug in Apple’s iOS enables anyone to crash an iPhone by sending a string of characters via iMessage or SMS. The bug -- discovered by several users on Reddit -- requires a specific string of Chinese, Marathi and Arabic characters to be sent.

The iPhone receiving the message will crash and immediately reboot. Following the reboot, attempting to reopen the Messages app will result in the app crashing if it was opened in list view. It can be launched if it was last opened to a conversation with the user that sent the string of text. But attempting to go to another conversation will cause the app to crash, according to MacRumors.

The offending string of text:

لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ

This is due to a glitch in how iOS processes the text in banner notifications and those displayed in the lockscreen. However, the string of text reportedly won’t crash an iPhone if the user has the Messages app open while receiving it. And if the text is not properly spaced, the crash will not occur.

iMessage Bug Text This string of text will cause an iPhone to immediately crash. Photo: Luke Villapaz

To fix a crashing messaging app, users can send a message to their own phone via Siri or by sending a picture via the Photos app. Sending a message to the original sender will also fix the messages app from crashing. To prevent it from happening again, users can disable notification banners from the app. According to one Twitter user speaking to Apple support, Apple engineers are already aware of the problem. But no timeframe was given for when it will be fixed.


Update 12:39 p.m.: Apple is aware of the problem and is working on a patch:

“We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update," said an Apple representative.