Earlier this week, a software developer on Twitter shared a link that is capable of crashing the an iPhone or a Mac when sent via the Messages app. Dubbed “chaiOS,” the bug works similarly to the “Effective Power” bug from 2015, which involved sending a string of text to another iPhone user which would cause the recipient’s phone to crash and reboot. chaiOS is more of a nuisance than a serious security flaw, but either way, it won’t be around much longer.
On Thursday, just two days after the malicious was initially disseminated on Twitter, Apple told BuzzFeed that a fix is coming in a software update next week. No further details were shared, but presumably both iOS and macOS devices will receive the update, as both can be affected by the text string in the Messages app.
Unless your contact list is filled with trolls, chances are that you’ll never have to deal with chaiOS before Apple takes care of it. In fact, the original link has already been taken down by GitHub (that’s where it was originally hosted), but the code contained therein has likely been copied by others and hosted elsewhere.
“My intention is not to do bad things,” Abraham Masri told BuzzFeed. “My main purpose was to reach out to Apple and say, ‘Hey, you’ve been ignoring my bug reports.’ I always report the bug before releasing something.”
By this time next week, the update will have rolled out, but if you receive the bug in the meantime, do whatever you can to delete the text thread that contains it. That might be a challenge, as the Messages app will repeatedly crash for some users, but it’s the only option other than a factory reset. If it comes to that, back up your data first.