Every once in a while, someone finds a way to crash an iPhone by sending a specific type of iMessage or text message to unsuspecting victims. These malicious messages could crash the app, or even crash the iPhone. Usually, there are fixes for such issues… but someone figured out a brand new iMessage attack that can crash the Messages app for good.
A person who goes by the name of vincedes3 posted a demo of this new iMessage bug on YouTube. According to Phone Arena, the malicious text message contains a “humongous file” presented as an attachment that the Messages app is unable to decipher if you try to open the attachment. The bug affects iPhones and iPads running iOS 9 to iOS 10.2.1 (betas included).
The Messages app will become unresponsive and the only way to get out of it is to shut down the app from the multitasking menu. However, when you try to reopen Messages, the app will crash.
vincedes3 says in the video and on his website that there is a fix for the crash, and he provides the details needed to fix the app. Other sites say that the fix doesn’t always work, however, do you definitely shouldn’t test this bug yourself.
Apple will probably issue a fix for this sort of exploit in the future, but until that time, remember to keep ignoring dubious iMessages — and don’t be tempted to open everything you receive via iMessage even if it comes from a trusted source. Otherwise, this is what can happen: