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This SMS Can Make Your iPhone Crash (And How You Can Fix It)

Ah, the power of a simple text message.
by Neps Firmalan | May 28, 2015
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A single text message holds the power to do a lot of things: connect people, end relationships, or update non-TV viewers on the latest catfight in Forevermore.

It's certainly a powerful tool. However, never have we imagined that it can actuallyget thismake an iPhone crash! No kidding, a simple SMS can make Apple's wonder handset go bonkers!


Video via Charles Clout


The issue involves an SMS with a very specific list of Arabic and unicode characters set in a certain sequence. Too much geekery? Here's the SMS in question:

iphone sms bugImage via

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According to tech sites this glitch, which was first discovered by Reddit users, is more about how Apple's iOS platform handles and renders Arabic and unicode text rather than the actual SMS (which can also wreak havoc if it was sent as an iMessage) itself. Apparently, if these characters were set in a very specific way, the iPhone won't be able to process it correctly, resulting to it crashing and subsequently rebooting. What's even worse is that users are now reporting that the bug also renders the device's messaging app useless. Bummer.

But the worst part is, there's no way of telling and stopping someone to send you the aforementioned text message. It's okay if you're an Android fanboy, but if you're part of Tim Cook's clan then, kaboom!

Fortunately, Internet geeks have found a few ways that supposedly remedies the situation:

  • The Guardian reports some users have discovered that sending the sender a photo via the Photos app allowed them to access their SMS history and, as a result, delete the text.
  • Meanwhile, MacRumors says that, if the Messages app was already open in the specific conversation (not in Conversation List view) with the sender when the malicious SMS arrived, it can be reopened to send a reply which fixes the problem.
  • Lastly, if you've been affected, you can have someone send you a new message, or make Siri do the deed (via a voice command like "Send a message to myself"). The new SMS allows you to open your Messages app and clear the problematic message.

And Apple's response to the brouhaha?

"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."

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