How to fix the Indian character bug on iPhone and iPad

“A new bug has cropped up in iOS 11 that can cause an iPhone or iPad to crash when sent a specific character from the Telugu language of India in Messages or several popular third-party apps like WhatsApp, Outlook, and Facebook Messenger,” Joseph Keller writes for iMore. “This bug not only causes Springboard crashes, but prevents you from opening the app that received a message with that character again because the app is continually trying to load the message.”

“Apple has confirmed to iMore that the bug is not only fixed in current betas of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, it’ll also be made available to the current release versions of all the operating systems as well,” Keller writes. “So, for example, though the bug is fixed in iOS 11.3 beta, Apple will push out an update to iOS 11.2.5, the current release version, to fix the problem as well. That’ll make sure everyone gets the fix as quickly as possible.”

“If you’ve been struck by this bug and can’t open Messages or your third-party messaging or email app of choice,” Keller writes, “you should be able to fix it by having a friend send you a sort of “rescue message” in a different thread and tapping on that notification.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve tested this “rescue message” fix and it works, so that’ll hold us until Apple can get the real fix released.

Major new iOS bug can crash iPhones and disable access to Messages and other apps – February 15, 2018
ChaiOS ‘text bomb’ can crash your Apple iPhone or Mac with a single link – January 17, 2018
Three-character message prank crashes pre-iOS 10.2 Apple iPhones with a single text – January 18, 2017
Random string of Arabic characters can crash nearly any Mac, iPhone or iPad – September 3, 2013


  1. OK, so let’s try to figure out how many people are likely affected by this bug.

    Telugu is spoken by about 70 million people (making it no 15 on the list of world languages by number of speakers). Vast majority of those live in India. If we assume that Telugu speakers follow similar trends when it comes to smartphone adoption and iPhone adoption, then the numbers are as follows. Some 17% of the population owns smartphones, and out of that percentage, about 2.5% own an iPhone. That roughly translates to 0.42% of the population owns smartphones. So, for the population of 70 million, it translates to about 300,000 iPhone owners (very much back-of-the-envelope calculation).

    Obviously, the percentage of all iPhone owners who could potentially be affected by this bug is fairly negligible, and even among those who actually use Telugu keyboard and type messages in the language, the likelihood of accidentally sending such a message is fairly low.

    However, it is rather trivial for a malicious person to add a Telugu keyboard layout to his phone, type the offending character into a text message and send it to a large group of iPhone users out of malice.

    I can see this as becoming a popular high school prank (until next update fixes it, that is).

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