Apple confirms fix for the “text bomb” ChaiOS message bug is coming next week

Did someone send you that GitHub link? Here’s how to get rid of the "text bomb" bug

19 Jan 2018
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Apple seems to be the king of creating unintentional bugs that are just plain annoying. From the iOS 11.1 bug which turned the letter ‘I’ into a gibberish Unicode symbol, to the effective power bug that caused iPhones to shut down when a message was opened. 

Now, just mere weeks after Apple’s revelations it intentionally slows down older iPhones, a new bug has joined the fray to cause more havoc. 

The bug, referred to as ChaiOS, is eerily reminiscent of the effective power message bug from 2015, and it looks deceptively like a simple GitHub URL. 

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 Affecting iOS devices and Macs, when the GitHub URL is sent to another Apple user, it forces the user’s iPhone or Mac to freeze, lag, crash and respring - even if you don’t click the link. The only way to solve the immediate problem is to restart your device. Yet, if you re-enter the conversation, the same thing will happen again. 

The bug, which was discovered by Abraham Masri and uploaded on GitHub, has been shared widely on Twitter. Speaking to BuzzFeed, Masri explained that he inputted hundreds of thousands of characters into his webpage metadata on GitHub, much more than iOS expects, which he suspects causes the bug. Masri has now taken the link down, but that might not stop other people from re-uploading it again or copying his methods.

Masri added that he had reported the bug to Apple, but had received no response, and his intention was to alert Apple to the bug rather than cause anything malicious. 

How to fix the ChaiOS bug?

Apple has confirmed it has created a fix for the bug. It's currently part of the iOS 11.2.5 beta and this update will be fully released to the public as an update next week.

However, if you want a more immediate fix, you could try downloading the iOS 11.1.5 beta and seeing if that works. You will need to be part of the Apple Beta Programme, though.

Alternatively, there are two simple workarounds.

Block the domain site 

Go to Settings | General | Restrictions | Enable Restrictions | Websites | Limit Adult Content | Never Allow | GitHub.io, or whichever website now hosts the bug. 

Delete the conversation 

If you’re quick enough, you might be able to go into the conversation and delete the specific message. 

Image: Flickr

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