There is a new bug affecting iOS 11 that causes the Messages app and other third-party messaging services like WhatsApp, Outlook and Facebook Messenger to go into a non-stop rebooting loop, all due to one rogue text character.
First spotted by Mobile World, the bug stems from receiving a character from the Indian language Telugu, which results in iOS 11’s Springboard to reboot after which the messaging app becomes unusable. A video of the bug (below) shows Messages continually crashing when trying to load the character.
The fact that this latest bug affects other third party apps beyond Messages could make the issue much more prevalent. The Verge is reporting the bug is not affecting the latest beta of iOS 11.3, which means if push comes to shove, Apple could just seed the iOS 11.3 ahead of time like it did with iOS 11.2 to fix another software bug.
As of right now, the confirmed apps that are affected by the bug are: Messages, WhatsApp, Facebook, Outlook for iOS and Gmail.
The only quick solution that has been found is to have a different person send you a message and try to delete the thread the rogue character is in. But that’s only for Messages, it gets trickier when it involves a third party app.
This is a good reminder of why Apple has changed direction with iOS 12 and decided to focus more on refining the software performance rather than cramming in new features. What good are new features when the operating system is continually dogged by random bugs? iOS 11 in particular has seen a high number of bugs affecting usability.
Update: Apple has responded to the issue saying it will roll out an update addressing the iOS bug before iOS 11.3, which likely would be iOS 11.2.6. All other betas for macOS, tvOS and watchOS will also fix the bug.