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Latest iOS 11 bug crashes devices sent Indian-language character [u]

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A bug in iOS 11 is causing devices sent a particular character in Messages to crash, and/or disabling some third-party messaging and email apps, but Apple has already fixed the problem in the latest round of iOS, macOS, and watchOS betas.

The character is in India's Telugu language, and if received through Messages will not only cause the iOS Springboard to crash but prevent Messages from opening again until another person sends a benign message, at which point it should be possible to delete the offending thread, The Verge noted. The glitch was originally discovered by the Italian-language site Mobile World.

Affected third-party apps include Gmail, Outlook, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. It can potentially be harder to remove contaminated messaging threads, depending on the software.

At the same time, some other messaging apps like Skype and Telegram seem to be immune. The bug is also absent from the iOS 11.3 beta, suggesting that Apple might be aware of the problem and have a fix.

Given the severity of the issue, the company could be forced to push out an emergency point release — presumably iOS 11.2.6 — ahead of time.

Update: The glitch also appears to affect the Apple Watch and Macs, crashing native macOS apps such as Safari and the Mac App Store.