A new so-called "text bomb," a string of characters that could crash iOS devices if received in a notification, has surfaced online.
Messaging bugs like these show up every now and then. Typically, they're messages of specific characters that can crash an iOS or iPadOS device when received, forcing a device restart.
This specific "text bomb" appears to consist of the Italian flag emoji and a specific Sindhi language character, and impacts all current versions of iOS and iPadOS 13. Reports indicate that the bug only causes crashes if it appears in an incoming notification.
According to information on Reddit, this specific malformed message first started making the rounds on Telegram, but it has also appeared on Twitter. It isn't clear which specific messaging apps the bug impacts, though the fact that it only crashes an iOS device when appearing in a notification suggests that it could be app-agnostic.
Notification-based "text bombs" can be particularly annoying, as they can cause iOS or iPadOS to get stuck in a "re-spring" loop.
A similar bug involving a character in the Telugu language caused a stir back in 2018 when it circulated around the internet.
As with the Telugu bug, it's likely that Apple will issue a fix in an upcoming version of iOS. In the meantime, users who are particularly worried about their devices crashing may want to disable notifications for messaging apps until the problem is resolved. Disabling message previews in notifications may also mitigate impact.