UPDATE: Apple has confirmed to Reuters that it’s aware of the messaging bug and that it’s working on a fix that’ll be pushed out in a future software update. The company’s full statement: "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.”
Heads up, iPhone users, because a new iOS bug has been discovered that can crash your handset and leave you unable to open your Messages app.
It’s been found that when you receive a message that includes a certain set of characters, including some Arabic, your iPhone will respring (Springboard is the name of the iOS app that manages your home screen) then crash and reboot. Once your phone has started back up, your Messages app will crash if it was opened to the list view when you got the message, or it’ll crash when you try to open the thread in which the offending message was sent if you were already in there before.
The bug appears to affect the latest version of iOS, which is 8.3, as well as earlier versions, and it’s said that the issue is related to how banner notifications handle Unicode text. Apple is reportedly aware of the problem and working on a fix, but until a solution is released, you can fix a crashing Messages app yourself. The way to do it is to send a message to yourself, which can be done by telling Siri “Send a message to myself.” You can also send yourself a note, photo, or similar document using iOS’s Share sheet. This is done by tapping the small square with an arrow.
This is definitely a weird bug, and it could get pretty annoying if you have friends that keep sending it to you and crashing your iPhone. The good news is that at least it’s not terribly difficult to fix a crashing Messages app if someone does end up sending you this message. Here’s to hoping that Apple can push out an iOS update with a legitimate fix quickly.