Recently, a Twitter developer found an iOS bug that can cause crashing of any iOS messaging app upon receiving a single-letter text message with a specific sign.
The issue can be triggered by one particular character from the Indian Telugu language. If you receive a text message containing that specific character, it will crash your messaging app in which you’ve received the message. That includes all the iOS messaging apps like Messages, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Skype, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, WeChat, Viber, Line, etc. Furthermore, the Telugu character can crush any iOS app that can render and display text.
Once you have “destroyer” message stored in any app, you will NOT BE ABLE TO USE that app anymore. If you are continually trying to use the crashed app, it may even occur iOS resprings and reboots. This problem can happen on all iDevices running iOS 10 and iOS 11 (including the latest official version 11.2.5). Furthermore, the Telugu letter crashes even the desktop version of the most popular macOS messaging app iMessage as well as other apps (Safari, email clients, etc.)
The Cause of The Problem
The reason why this Telugu character crush iOS and macOS apps is that both (iOS and macOS) cannot properly render the character. As a response, they simply just shut down the app where this character appears. For example, if you’ve received a Facebook message containing this “destroyer” symbol you would not be able to use the FB Messanger app. It will crash on every launch.
However, if you have received this message on your iPhone or iPad, here are some methods that will help you to solve the problem on your iOS device.
Method #1 (Works on iOS 11 – Messages, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber)
The first method to fix the “destroyed” iOS app in which you’ve received the Telugu symbol is receiving another random message after it (excluding the Telugu character).
- First, make sure you find out who sent you the “destroyer” text message on your iPhone.
- Reach that person (through a phone call or any working text messaging platform you have).
- Let him/her know that he/she just crashed your phone, and ask to send you another random text message on the same platform where they’ve sent you the “destroyer” message.
- Once you receive the new message, open the messaging app. But, DO NOT open the conversation. (Do not click on the notification pup up.)
- The app should launch this time, but if it didn’t restart your iPhone and give it another try.
- After the messaging app loads up, delete the conversation with that particular person without opening it. (Long press the conversation and choose Delete, or swipe and tap on Delete left on iOS Messages app.)
Now the app should work properly once again. If you want to protect your device from similar future problems, you can block the user that sent you the “destroyer” message. (Make sure you do that on all the messaging platforms you are using.)
Method #2 Update iOS (Works on iOS 10 and iOS 11)
Since the problem occurs on iOS 10 and iOS 11, you can solve it if you change (update) the iOS version. The latest iOS beta version does NOT suffer from this bug. So if you install it on your iDevice you are in the safe zone. Here is how to do that
Note: Keep in mind that all beta versions may contain some software bugs and glitches.
To update your iPhone to iOS 11.3 Public Beta, you must enroll the official Apple beta program.
- Firs, go to beta.apple.com and sign up with your Apple ID.
- Once you type your credentials click Allow, and type the 6-digit code that appeared on your screen.
- Now, read the Agreement, and click on Accept.
- On the new page under the Guide for Public Betas section, tap on the iOS tab (if not selected already).
- Scroll down and search for the link “enroll your iOS device.”
- Click on it and once the next site loads up, tap on the Download profile
- Tap Allow on the pop-up window that will appear.
- Now it will open up an installer-profile page. Tap on Install (in the upper right corner) and type your device’s passcode.
- Now, tap on Install (in the upper right corner), and confirm your action by tapping Install once again.
- From the pop-up window choose Restart.
- Once the device boots up type your passcode and go to Settings > General > Software Update.
- Now, wait for your device to check for updates. Once the Download and Install button shows up, tap on it.
- Type your passcode once again and tap the Agree button in the bottom right corner.
- After the download finishes, tap install and wait for the process to finish.
- When it’s done, your device will boot up with the latest iOS 11.3 beta.
This fix is permanent and now the Telugu can NOT harm your device.
Method #3 Use Another Device to Delete the Malicious Conversation (Works on iOS 10 and iOS 11)
Another way to fix the problem after receiving the “destroyer” message, is deleting that particular message via another non-iOS device.
This method is tested on Skype, FB Messenger, Twitter.
- Right after receiving the Telugu character, get a non-iOS device (you can use any Android) and download the app in which you’ve received the “destroyer” message (if it’s not already installed). If you have received the message on your iDevice via Skype, download Skype on the Android device.
- Now, launch the app and log in using your account.
- Once you are logged in, open the conversation with the Telugu sign.
- Now, go back, long-press on the same conversation, choose Delete and confirm your action to delete the conversation.
- After you’ve deleted the conversation get your iDevice and delete the app you had problems on. (Skype in our case.)
- Now, head down to the App Store and download the same app.
- Once the installation finishes, you can sign in with your account, and it will work without any problem (unless somebody sends you the same Telugu symbol again).
I hope you will never receive the “destroyer” message on your iPhone. But if you do, make sure you use one of these methods to get rid of the problem.
Official Fix by Apple for Telugu-Character Bug
As an official solution to the many Telugu-character-infected iDevices, Apple released a new update – iOS 11.2.6.
This update fixes the bug that his predecessors had – making iOS apps to crash after receiving the particular Telugu character explained above. Apple was aware of this problem, and they included the fix in their iOS 11.3 beta before. However, the official release of iOS 11.3 will be sometime in the spring. Until then, iOS 11.2.6 will be the official fix for Telugu-character-infected iDevices.
- To install iOS 11.2.6 on any iOS device, go to Settings > General > Software Update.
- Now, wait for the device to refresh, and click Download and Install Update.
Since the problem was spread through various Apple platforms, they also released new updates for watchOS – 4.2.3, macOS High Sierra – 10.13.3, and tvOS – 11.2.6. They are all available for download on supported iDevices.