An innocent-looking message, containing characters in the Sindhi language, can cause your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or even Apple Watch to crash without warning.

The problem seems to be in how the latest versions of Apple’s operating system handle a Unicode symbol representing specific characters written in Sindhi, an official language in part of Pakistan.

The problem occurs when your device attempts to display a message notification. If you have configured your iPhone to display a new message notification which includes a preview of the message, then iOS fails to properly render the characters and crashes.

The only way to get around the problem is to completely reboot your device – but there is always the risk that you will receive another boobytrapped notification.

The problem can also occur inside apps. For instance, some Twitter users have tweeted the offending characters causing other users to have their devices crash.

Clearly such a flaw is irritating, especially if you happen to find yourself receiving a barrage of text ‘bombs’.

If all this sounds like a familiar problem to you, that’s because Apple has had problems in the past with Unicode characters crashing its operating systems.

For instance, way back in 2013 it was found that Macs and iPhones could be crashed by a simple string of Arabic characters.

In 2015, an attack called “Effective Power” saw iPhones being remotely rebooted when pranksters sent a sequence of characters via iMessage.

And in 2018 we saw both Apple devices crash as they attempted to display letters from the south Indian language of Telugu, and the so-called chaiOS bug made it possible to crash iOS and macOS with a single text message.

The answer in all these cases has been for Apple to push out a fix to its operating systems to better handle the Unicode symbol.

And that’s what, I’m sure, will happen this time, so we may only be days away from having it pushed out to your devices.

In the meantime, if you are worried or think you might be targeted by someone who is attempting to crash your device, you might want to disable message previews on your iPhone.

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