Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • A character from an Indian dialect is at the heart of a new bug concerning all of Apple's operating systems.
  • As soon as the character shows up, whether typed or received as part of a text, applications crash and can even freeze an iPhone's springboard entirely, possibly sending it in a bootloop.
  • iOS, watchOS, and macOS are all afflicted by it, save for the latest beta version of iOS.

Apple is not having the greatest time. Following a deluge of bad reports on its new HomePod speaker — mixed reviews, reports of stained furniture, and even somewhat scarce profits — it's now the turn of yet another software issue.

The latest bug, discovered by Italian blog Mobile World, is focused on a single character of a local Indian language (Telugu), which once typed on any iOS device can cause it to misbehave, crash, or even end stuck in a bootloop.

If a user were to open any conversation in a text-based app like WhatsApp, Twitter, or Facebook Messenger, and type the character, the app will crash, and it will keep force closing each time you try to re-open it.

The Telugu character, which we are not posting as text for obvious reasons.

As The Verge reported, the bug also afflicts other third-party applications, such as Gmail and Outlook for iOS, while others like Skype and Telegram seem to be unaffected.

If someone else were to send the character as a text, the notification snippet containing the character could also freeze or restart the entire iOS springboard by itself; Mobile World suggests that, in that case, users wait for the device to reboot itself automatically, because forcing it to do so may result in a bootloop.

Mobile World also says that the bug afflicts platforms beyond iOS: watchOS and macOS apps like Notes, Safari, and the App Store all reportedly crash as soon as the infamous character shows up.

A recent community bug report over at OpenRadar confirmed as much: "Trying to insert [the symbol] in any system text renderer like TextField, Label, TextView [makes devices] always [...] crash."

The only safe operating system seems to be iOS 11.3, which is however only publicly available in beta form. You can watch Mobile World's full demonstrative video (in Italian) below.