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Apple (Kind of) Fixes iPhone-Crashing Text Message Bug

Apple doesn't yet have an official fix for a bug in iOS that makes it possible for a specific text message to crash iPhones and reportedly other devices -- but the company published a temporary workaround late Thursday.

The iThing maker said Wednesday it was working on a fix for the bug, which appears to be in the way iOS 8 handles the display of notifications that contain Arabic characters. A certain string of those characters causes devices to crash and restart, whether the string appears through notifications for iMessage, Twitter or any other apps that send notifications when a message is received. Users on social-news site Reddit first flagged the problem.

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Apple said in a post late Thursday that the company is "aware" of the problem and will issue a fix in an upcoming software update. Until that unspecified date, Apple suggested users employ a three-step workaround that involves the iPhone's Siri voice assistant.

  1. Ask Siri to "read unread messages."
  2. Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you'll be able to open Messages again.
  3. In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.