Another day and another bug has been discovered in iMessage which crashes the messaging app when a particular message is sent to a user. This time around, sending a Telegu character to anyone running iOS 11.2.5 on their iPhone will lead to the iMessage app crashing. Worse, the app will fail to re-open after the crash as well.
Perhaps a saving grace for iMessage this time around is the fact that other messaging apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, Outlook etc. will also crash when they receive the same Telugu character. The issue seems to be a low-level iOS one as Springboard, the home screen of iOS, will also end up crashing if the OS tries to display the said character in a notification.
In case you end up receiving a similar message and Springboard on your iPhone crashes, you should wait for it to restart and not force reboot your phone. Doing so will end up putting your iPhone in a boot loop. And if you have already received the character through a message in iMessage then the only way to get the app to work again is by deleting the said thread or asking the said recipient to send you some more messages. It is more difficult to recover third-party messaging apps like Outlook and WhatsApp from this bug unless you have web access enabled.
The bug is not present in the latest iOS 11.3 beta so Apple was clearly aware of the bug.
With the sheer number of bugs that are being discovered in iMessage and iOS, its good that Apple decided to focus on stability and performance with iOS 12 instead of cramming as many features as possible into it. iOS has become extremely buggy in recent years, and its reliability has taken a severe hit. The lack of a bunch of new features in iOS 12 will likely disappoint many users initially but the improved performance and stability should win them over in the long term.
Update: It turns out, the bug also affects the Apple Watch and macOS. The only messaging apps immune to the bug are Telegram and Skype.