There’s a new iOS exploit doing the rounds that will render the Messages app on your iPhone unusable. Thankfully, there are a couple of workarounds allowing victims of this particular “prank” gain access to their Messages again. Unfortunately, there are no workarounds for having friends dumb enough to send you this in the first place.
The exploit, discovered by software developer Vincedes3, uses a vCard to overload the Messages app. A vCard typically features 200-300 lines of code, but this one features 14,000 lines of code. So, when Messages attempts to open it, the app crashes.
Unfortunately, this keeps happening, as Messages automatically opens the most recent message. So, if it’s a malicious message designed to cause problems, as this one is, you need to find a way of deleting the problem message without opening the Messages app.
How to Fix This Exploit
There are two ways of fixing this particular exploit.
1. Open this link in Safari. This allows you to send a new message to yourself, giving you the breathing space required to delete the offending vCard causing the problem.
2. Ask Siri to send a message to you. Then open that message through Siri, which should grant you access to the Messages app. You can then delete the offending vCard.
iOS Exploits Are On the Rise
This new iOS exploit is reminiscent of the video which was being shared in November 2016. While it was only a 5-second-long, Vine-style video clip, the MP4 file adversely affected the iPhone of anyone who watched it, slowing it down until it ultimately crashed.
In that case, forcing your iPhone to reboot solved the issue. However, even with the workarounds detailed above, the vCard exploit requires a little more effort to solve. Apple is likely to be working on a solution as we speak, but the fact it’s even possible to break Messages in the first place is a little concerning.
Have you encountered this exploit? Was it sent as a good-natured prank? Or was it more malicious? How did you delete the offending vCard and restore Messages to its former glory? Did you find this article while searching for a solution? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Jan Persiel via Flickr