How A Single Character "Text Bomb" Can Crash Your iPhone And Mac

Doug Carpenter
February 17, 2018

As reported by Italian website Mobile World, receiving the Telugu character in messages, or having it displayed in an app, can crash the iOS Springboard.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Opening a message containing the character is enough to crash Apple's system that manages the home screen, called iOS Springboard.

Besides, iOS the bug can also be reproduced on macOS High Sierra (version 10.13), along with the new versions of tvOS and watchOS. Some phones are crashing while others lose the function of apps like Gmail and Facebook Messenger. Moreover, upon restarting the devices, the users will be unable to open the Messages app, as it will try to load the character but refuse to function properly. Still, it's a good reminder that even the best tech companies can't think of everything, and there will be plenty of fixes in the future.


It merits mentioning here that iOS 11.3 already has a fix for the problem since all available betas of iOS 11.3 are protected against this.

The issue, which has become known as the Telugu bug, gives people the ability to crash a wide range of iPhone, Mac and iPad apps just by sending a single character from the third most spoken language in India.

A similar issue also plagued iPhones in 2016, when it was discovered that a corrupt video file could be used to cause iPhones to freeze up and forced users to reboot the device to make it function again. Telegram and Skype appear to be unaffected.

Starting this April, all iOS developers are required to make their apps compatible with the iPhone X, meaning their design must put into consideration the phone's almost bezel-less OLED display and the huge notch above.


In an unsurprising turn of events, Apple announced today that beginning in April, all new iPhone apps will be required to support the notch that's on the iPhone X.

For now, the only way to resolve the issue is to have a friend send you a message, and then delete the thread containing the Telugu character.

Apple announced last month that the upcoming Apple iOS 11.3 update will offer features that gives users power to control their batteries, Augmented Reality (AR) upgrade and Animoji. This means that Apple is likely aware of the problem to some extent.


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