Apple issues temporary workaround for iPhone crashing Messages bug

The company is working on a fix, but in the meantime, there are steps you can take to mitigate the problem.


Apple has acknowledge the existence of a bug which can crash the Messages applications on iPhones and has issued a set of instructions as a temporary workaround.

This week, reports surfaced concerning a strange bug which impacts Apple iPhones and the Messages application. If an iPhone on iOS 8 receives a text message containing a specific string of symbols and Arabic characters, the device crashes and restarts, with some users reporting they are unable to reopen Messages afterwards.

The bug, caused by Apple's CoreText text handler choking when given a specific string of non-Latin characters, also affects the Apple Watch, iPads and Macs.

While this bug is more annoying than dangerous -- at least at the moment -- Apple has confirmed the issue and advised users on steps to take if they fall prey to a malicious text message.

In an advisory posted Thursday, the iPad and iPhone maker issued a set of instructions to temporarily solve the bug.

If Messages crashes after receiving the malicious message, Apple's simple workaround is below:

1. To reopen the application first involves you asking Siri to "read unread messages."

2. Using Siri, reply to the malicious message -- it does not matter what you say, as long as you respond.

3. Once you have replied you will be able to reopen Messages.

4. When you are back in the application, swipe left to delete the full thread -- or tap, hold the problematic message, tap More and delete the message from the thread to resolve the problem.

Apple says the company has acknowledged the bug and will make a fix available in a future software update.

See also: Apple keynote set for 10am on June 8 at WWDC

This week, Apple announced the promotion of its chief designer Jony Ive to a newly-formed position which will allow him to focus fully on the firm's next big product. In his new role as Chief Design Officer at Apple, Ive will focus on "current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives."