This bizarre text bomb is crashing iOS devices

iMessage (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A very strange text bug is crashing iOS devices.
  • It involves receiving a text containing a certain Sindhi language character.
  • Receiving a message with the character can cause your iOS device to crash.

A very strange iOS text bug seems to be crashing iOS devices running all current versions of Apple's iOS 13 operating system.

EverythingApplePro shared a video highlighting how receiving a specific text containing a Sindhi character was causing iOS devices to become unresponsive, requiring the phone to be restarted.

See more

The problem has also been picked up on Reddit, which notes that the new problem is similar to a Telegu text issue that previously plagued iOS:

A new string of characters is making the rounds similar to the Telugu text that would cause iOS to crash. CaptureTheFlag is similar in that it hooks CoreText to replace any occurrences of it with "Unsupported characters". It only seems to be triggered by a notification as of right now. Available on my repo and will be on BigBoss later.Direct deb downloadSource is available here, it was written quickly so the code might not be perfect, feel free to make pull requests to improve it.

Whilst the fix offered here is only for jailbroken devices, the issue is the same. The problem seems to be affecting not only iMessage but Twitter as well, as noted by users including Ben Gesking:

See more

Reports from Reddit and AppleInsider have suggested the problem relates to a combination of the Sindhi language Character and the Italian flag, however, EAP's Twitter video showed him recreating the bug using the 'virus' emoji instead.

The problem will likely have to be fixed in an upcoming version of iOS. The only current fix if your phone becomes unresponsive, is to restart your iOS device. A couple of reports have suggested that the problem might have been fixed in Apple's iOS 13.4.5 Beta 2:

See more

Let us know if you've been experiencing similar issues!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • Not this **** again. ****. At this point android looks like Fort Knox compared to this garbage. This was a thing a year or two ago, now the mail app free for all and this again, Smoke and mirrors and kool aid run strong. Security and privacy my ***. Nice try Tim Apple. Try again.
  • This isn't a security issue, just an annoying bug. Obviously related to the other text-related ones, Apple needs to come up with a better solution
  • Sorry to burst you Apple shaped bubble. When a person can crash your phone just by sending you a text. It’s a ******* security issue. As is the mail app issue. There is no rebuttal to this. And the fact that imore keeps ******* animal crossing articles at the top instead of very important stuff like security issues for iOS is very telling. Don’t say anything bad, if you do bury it under cutisie game articles. Not the first time either. Any negative articles published here get quickly buried instead of staying at the forefront so users are aware.
  • The mail app issue is an exploit where someone could infect your phone, which is a security issue. The issue in this article has nothing to do with security though, it just freezes your phone, the phone isn't exposed to anything when it's frozen, it's just, well, frozen. Like running 10,000 Chrome tabs on your Mac. Not defending Apple, this is an issue that shouldn't be happening
  • I don't have that issue with my windows pc, anyways it is a security issue. Stop playing symantics again.
  • But how does it cause a security problem? I don't understand, what part of your security is threatened by your phone freezing?