New iOS bug can render your iPhone virtually useless

Apple ended 2017 with a plethora of software problems, and 2018 is fast shaping up the same way. A new bug in iOS 11 has been found that allows someone to send a unique character that will not only cause an iPhone to crash, but also prevents access to Messages, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Gmail and Outlook for iOS.

The problem was first highlighted by Mobile World, an Italian blog. Others have since managed to duplicate it on various iPhones using iOS 11.2.5 – and discovered it also derails the macOS versions of Messages and Safari.

Apple reportedly intends to fix the issue in an iOS update before iOS 11.3 is released during the spring.

The bug is activated when someone sends a specific Indian language (Telegu) character to a device using iOS 11.2.5 and it makes Apple’s iOS Springboard crash. Messages cease to open as the app unsuccessfully tries to load this character.

Apparently, the only solution where you can get access to iMessages again is to delete the message with the offending character and to get someone else to send you a new ‘clean’ message.

The bug has also been tested on third-party applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook for iOS, and Gmail – all of which can be disabled the moment the trigger message is received. Skype and Telegram seem to be unaffected.

With the company increasingly facing software bugs and security problems, Apple will reportedly concentrate on performance and reliability in iOS12 instead of relentlessly pushing for new features. According to these reports, in the future the company will allow engineers to delay new features rather than attempt to have everything ready for major yearly updates.

As a result, certain features are said to have been pushed back, giving Apple time to resolve some of the reliability and security issues it has faced with both iOS and macOS in recent months.

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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