Update: If you haven't updated your iPhone to the latest software, do so now. iOS 11.2.6 fixes last week's harmful iOS bug, which caused apps to crash whenever users received a text with a single character from the Indian language Telugu.
This article was originally published on February 15, 2018.
Remember November's infamous iOS "i" bug, which autocorrected the letter "i" to an "A" with a strange question mark icon? It was annoying and resulted in far too many typos to count, but it wasn't completely destructive — you could still send messages and access your apps.
Now, however, there appears to be a far worse iOS bug that renders iPhones running the latest software, iOS 11.2.5, all but useless. If you receive a text with a single character from the Indian language Telugu it can cause your iPhone to crash and prevent access to apps including Gmail and Facebook Messenger. The Italian blog Mobile World first reported the news, and The Verge found that the only way to fix phones that have received the message is to have someone else message you, which may allow you to open iMessage and delete the thread.
The bug also extends to those running the latest software versions on Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.
Multiple users have reached out to Apple Support on Twitter expressing frustration, but unlike the case of the "i" bug, Apple has not yet published a support page with a helpful workaround. Apple has confirmed to Refinery29 that there is an update coming soon and that the bug is fixed in the current betas of software for iOS, tvOS, macOS and watchOS. However, although anyone can sign up for the public beta of iOS, it won't do much good for those whose phones have already been crashed by the bug.
A word to the wise: Don't try to prank your friends by sending them the Indian character unless you want to bear the wrath of someone who can't use their iPhone. If you have been affected, try recruiting a friend to send you text so you can delete the other message and, if that fails, reach out to Apple Support online.