How to fix iMessage crashing due Unicode Messages with Arabic characters

The news of a new bug in iOS 8 which results in crashing iPhone when a message containing specific set of characters is received, has been making rounds. The Unicode messages that contains Arabic characters instantly crashes the Messages app on iPhone, which then doesn’t open and keeps going back to the same SMS or iMessage on launch. If that specific message appears on lock screen, it can even cause the iPhone to reboot.

While Apple is working on a fix and promises patch the bug through an update, there are numerous things you can do right now that can help you prevent or recover from Messages app crashing, and iPhone reboots caused by the bug.

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For those already affected:

If you’ve already been hit with a Message containing malicious Unicode string, or as a prank, here’s how you can get your device to work normally:

  • Send yourself or ask someone to send you a clean message to the same app. You can do this from a different device, including a Mac, Siri, or from Share Sheet from another app such as Photos.
  • Go to Photos app on your iPhone and send any picture to the person who sent you the message containing Unicode string or whoever you sent it to, or;
  • Go to iMessages on your Mac and delete the Unicode characters in the text and retry the above method, or;
  • If you received the malicious text from an unknown number, you can find the number by opening iMessages and when it crashes, double tapping the Home button and look for the app preview for the number

For those not yet affected:

To prevent reboots from the lock screen, you need to turn off lock screen notifications:

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap on Notifications.
  3. Tap on Messages.
  4. Toggle Show on Lock Screen to Off.

To prevent Apple Watch crashes, you need to turn off Messages notifications in the Apple Watch app for iPhone:

  1. Launch Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on My Watch tab at the left bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap on Notifications.
  4. Tap on Messages.
  5. Toggle Show Alerts to Off.

If you’ve been one of those affected by the Unicode string bug, or found any other workaround to fix the issue, please let us know in the comments section below.

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