iOS 11.2.6 re­leased to fix Tel­ugu ‘text bomb’ bug

A full suite of Ap­ple OS up­dates fix the text bug that caused Mes­sages and other apps to crash. Leif John­son re­ports

Macworld - - NEWS -

In­ter­net trolls had a great time caus­ing Ap­ple prod­ucts to freeze re­cently thanks to a bug in­volv­ing a spe­cific char­ac­ter from In­dia’s Tel­ugu lan­guage. For­tu­nately, the party’s over now, as Ap­ple has re­leased a bar­rage of up­dates that patch the is­sue on iPhones, iPads, Macs, Ap­ple Watches, and Ap­ple TV boxes.

Take our word for it: up­date your de­vices now. You’re most likely to en­counter the bug on your iPhone and iPad, so be sure to get the iOS 11.2.6 patch on your de­vice straight away.

Ap­ple has had to deal with some high-pro­file bugs in the past few months, but this one was par­tic­u­larly nasty. All some­one had to do was send a mes­sage with the spe­cific char­ac­ter to an app like Mes­sages, and the app would freeze while Ap­ple’s soft­ware strug­gled to in­ter­pret the char­ac­ter.

In the cases of Mes­sages, the only way to get rid of it was to have a friend send you a new mes­sage. As Mash­able dis­cov­ered, if you hap­pened to see the char­ac­ter on the Twit­ter app, you had lit­tle choice but to go to a non-Ap­ple ma­chine and block all in­stances of the char­ac­ter on your ac­count from there.

This isn’t the first time Ap­ple has had to deal with such ‘text bomb’ bugs. In Jan­uary, a de­vel­oper named Abra­ham Masri man­aged to achieve sim­i­lar ef­fects with a line of script he posted on GitHub (which he later deleted). In 2015, a non­sen­si­cal string of Ara­bic char­ac­ters also achieved sim­i­lar no­to­ri­ety for crash­ing iPhones. But sel­dom have such bugs af­fected such a wide range of Ap­ple’s prod­ucts.

The news comes only a few days af­ter a re­port from Bloomberg de­scribed how Ap­ple soft­ware chief Craig Fed­erighi plans to fo­cus on fewer “big” soft­ware up­dates in favour of a great com­mit­ment to iOS sta­bil­ity. If this quick fix serves as any in­di­ca­tion, Ap­ple’s tak­ing that com­mit­ment se­ri­ously. The iOS 11.2.6 up­date fixes the is­sue on iPhones and iPads. On other de­vices, be sure to down­load macOS 10.13.3 sup­ple­men­tal up­date, watchOS 4.2.3, and tvOS 11.2.6.

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