News: New Messages Bug Lets a Single Link Freeze & Restart Your iPhone

New Messages Bug Lets a Single Link Freeze & Restart Your iPhone

It has not been a good year for Apple, as far as software scandals are concerned. From autocorrect nuisances to secret slowdowns of aging iPhones, Apple has had a lot to answer for. iOS users now have another issue to worry about — it's being called "chaiOS," and it's wrecking havoc on iPhones with just a simple URL.

The URL looks like a simple GitHub link at first. However, it's anything but. According to 9to5Mac, the bug was initially reported by Twitter user Abraham Masri:

I found a (small) bug that causes device to freeze, respring, drains battery, and/or sometimes panic. No need to install anything. Just open, tap then paste.

The bug he was referring to was for the link iabem97.github.io/safaribug, but he then shared iabem97.github.io/chaiOS as another malicious link. Masri confirms the links negatively affect iPhones in the ways described above, and instructs that you just need to send the URL to a recipient to plague them with issues. He does request that no one use the link for "bad stuff," which would be our suggestion too.

iPhone owners are not the only ones affected — Mac users should watch out for the bug as well. Whatever is happening under the hood, it appears both iOS and macOS are linked.

How to Get Rid of the Bug on Your iPhone

Some have taken it upon themselves to test the chaiOS bug. 9to5Mac reports both the sender and recipient of the link would occasionally experience the symptoms, which included resprings, as well as both Messages apps freezing. The outlet claims the only fix in these cases is to delete the Messages thread in question, but if you're having a hard time finding a way to delete it, there are a few things you can try.

Reddit user TeCHEye_RDT said that if you somehow get affected by this link in a message and you're not running iOS 11 yet, ask Siri to send a message to yourself or anyone besides the person who sent you the malicious link, tap "Messages >" to jump to the new message, then go back to the main Messages list and delete the conversation with the malicious link. In iOS 11, you can try using 3D Touch on the Messages app to start a new thread with someone else and do the same thing.

You could also try simply force-closing the Messages app, then reopen it and delete the thread. You can even try signing out of iMessages in your Settings, opening the Messages app, force-closing it, then signing back into iMessage.

This Is Not the First Time We've Seen Link Bugs

This issue isn't the first instance of a simple message creating chaos for iOS. Back in 2015, the "effective power" text caused iPhones to shut down unexpectedly. In fact, in one of his tweets, Marsi exclaims "Effective Power is back, baby!" in relation to this latest glitch.

Also, in late-2016, a huge vulnerability in Apple's WebView was discovered which malicious links could take advantage of, causing chaos on iPhones when tapped on, performing tasks such as repeated calls to 911 and other things.

There are currently no reports that chaiOS is necessarily dangerous to your device. However, should you choose to test it out for yourself, proceed with caution, as not much is known about the nature of the bug.

Cover image by LinkedIn Sales Navigator/Unsplash

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