Apple has published a support document detailing a workaround to temporarily resolve the situation with the nasty Messages bug that was capable of crashing iPhones. The document offers a simple series of steps that will allow users to re-open the Messages app after being hit by the bug, and notes that a fix will be made available in a future software update, as previously promised.
In case you missed it, an obscure bug was uncovered by users on Reddit who found that sending a string of symbols and Arabic characters via text to a person’s iPhone would cause the Messages app to crash, and in some cases, also cause the iPhone to reboot.
The problem, which was later found to also affect third-party messaging apps including Twitter and Snapchat, has to do with the way the iOS operating system handles Unicode characters, Apple said.
Though the bug was unlikely to have become a widespread nuisance on its own, its discovery led many users to send the text string to their friends and others as a prank, crashing their iPhones in the process. Unfortunately, even after the phone reboots, users would then find that they couldn’t re-open their Messages app – it would continue to crash until certain steps were taken.
Apple acknowledged the bug on Wednesday and noted that it was developing a permanent fix.
The new support document published on Thursday details the steps users need to take to get their Messages app working again, but this does not protect their phones from being affected by the bug in the future. In order to actually prevent the issue before Apple’s fix goes live, you would need to adjust the way your iPhone handles notifications. A simple solution would be to turn off message notifications until Apple’s software update arrives.
The workaround also won’t prevent the bug from affect third-party apps like Snapchat.
Apple’s instructions are as follows:
Ask Siri to “read unread messages.”
Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you’ll be able to open Messages again.
In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.
Apple has still not said when the software update with the permanent fix will be released.
(Image credit, message string: MacRumors)