Apple has a new bug that it will need to deal with called “chaiOS.” The name would indicate that it only affects iPhones and iPads although what it really attacks is the Messages app, regardless of whether it is running on iOS or macOS.
The bug manifests when a text is received (or sent) that contains what appears to be a GitHub link. Upon receiving the URL, Messages will freeze up and become unresponsive or respring. In that respect, it is similar to the “Effective Power” bug that was floating around back in 2015.
Effective Power is back, baby!
Text the link below, it will freeze the recipient’s device, and possibly restart it. https://t.co/Ln93XN51Kq
— Abraham Masri (@cheesecakeufo) January 16, 2018
Abraham Masri, the person who discovered the bug, says it creates a number of issues including “freezing, resprings, battery issues, and more.”
Techs at 9to5Mac tested the bug and found that it does indeed crash the entire device in many instances. In other cases, it just creates a severe lag problem. Even resetting is somewhat problematic in that issues will persist until the entire thread containing the link is deleted from Messages.
“PSA: This link will crash Messages on iOS and macOS, cause resprings & more.”
Some users replied to Masri’s original tweet, claiming the problem can be fixed using another link. However, I fail to see how this would work from a technical standpoint. I would not recommend trying any “fixes” in the comments as they could just as easily be trolling. At this point, 9to5Mac’s advice is the most sound solution.
The bug will not hurt your phone or computer but it is an extreme annoyance so unless you are ready to deal with a headache, you should probably avoid testing it out to see what it does. You should also avoid sending it as a joke to someone as it is not very funny. Plus, if you send it from an Apple device, it will lock you up, too.
Apple has not commented on the problem so it is unknown if they are working on a fix. However, with issues like this that do not cause real harm, Cupertino is usually slow to get on the ball.
Lead Image by Wired