Update: Apple is still working on a permanent fix that it will push out to users in a software update. Until then, the company has issued a workaround to help users affected by this glitch. To reopen the Messages app and deal with the problem, follow these directions:
- 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.
- If the issue continues, tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.
This is crazy! There's a new glitch out that let's anyone crash hundreds of millions of smartphones. If you are an iPhone user, follow along and I'll explain what's happening and how you can protect your smartphone from crashing.
It's like a magic code or phrase that pops up in your iMessage app. All a prankster or malicious person has to do is send you this specific string of characters via text message to mess up your gadget.
If you receive the message, it will cause your iMessage app to crash. Now, if your phone is on the lock screen when the secret code comes in, it can cause your whole phone to turn off and reboot.
The message looks like this:
The bug seems to be in iPhone's notification system that pops up when you have a new message, not in the actual iMessage app. The easiest work-around is to simply turn off notifications. A better way is to prompt another notification right away that will supersede the offending text. There are a few ways to generate a new notification.
You can ask the person who sent you the original message to send a new one, assuming it is from someone who did not send it to you maliciously.
You can also send yourself a text message easily enough just by telling Siri to do it or using an iOS app that lets you share content via iMessage. The new text message essentially replaces the older message, so you can start using iMessage again.
Apple hasn't corrected the issue yet, but the company says it will provide a fix through a software update.
“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.”
Until then, you know how to avoid this glitch.