Apple has published a temporary workaround for a frustrating Messages bug that causes iOS devices to crash and reboot when a certain string of characters is received via SMS or iMessage. A permanent fix is on the way, but this will allow you to use your iPhone again in the meantime.
We won’t publish the string here, which uses mostly Arabic characters, but as soon as it is received by an iPhone, it causes an immediate crash and forces a reboot. Users are then unable to open the Messages app without the same thing happening again.
Fortunately, the string is so random that it’s highly unlikely anyone would receive it by chance. What’s more, Apple has already acknowledged the problem, and it is working on a fix for a future iOS update.
But in the meantime, those affected by it can follow the official workaround below to get their Messages app working again.
- 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.
This isn’t the first time Messages has been affected by an issue like this; there have actually been a number of “malicious messages” just like this one that have caused iOS devices to crash. But Apple typically works quickly to eliminate them soon after they pop up.