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Apple is working on a fix for a bug in iOS that makes it possible to crash an iPhone and reportedly iPads and Apple Watches simply by sending the device a specific text message. The bug appears to be in the way iOS 8 handles the display of notifications that contain Arabic characters, and for some reason a certain string of them causes devices to choke on the data and restart immediately. It was first discovered by users on Reddit, who also report that the fatal character string crashes the phone whether it appears through notifications for Twitter, WhatsApp and any other apps that send received messages to your notifications.

"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," an Apple spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement to CNBC.

In the meantime, if you're worried about prankster friends hearing about this bug and blowing up your phone until the fix comes out, you can protect against the bug by disabling notifications for your messaging apps. It's not ideal, since you'll have to check manually whether you have any new texts or tweets, but it's better than having your phone shut down in the middle of an important call.



—Devin Coldewey