iMessage crashing or can’t open it after getting a message with Arabic characters? Try this fix

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 27 May 2015

imessage icon ios 7

Some users are reporting problems with iMessage after getting a message with Arabic/Unicode characters.

The problem seems to be getting aggravated as users are sending the message to their family and friends as a prank.

A quick search on Twitter suggests that the problem is affecting quite a few users.

Reddit user Andrew623224 complains:

My buddy messaged me this evil line of code (redacted) and ever since, it will not allow me to open the stock Message app on my iPhone 6 (iOS 8.3). I tried restarting my phone, but nothing helped. When I tap on the Message app, it just opens to a white screen and closes immediately.

Note, I’ve removed the code for obvious reasons. It looks like another type of message, again with Arabic/Unicode characters can even turn off the iPhone. It is forcing some users to restore their iPhone.

Update: Apple has provided an official workaround to fix the issue.

Ask Siri to “read unread messages.”
Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you’ll be able to open Messages again.
In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.

If the above solution doesn’t help, then you can try the solutions mentioned below. Reddit user TheSecondAccountYeah has provided the following solutions to fix the iMessage crashing issue, which seems to be helped some users, so I would recommend trying it out.

If your iMessages are crashing then just go to your photos app, send ANY picture to whoever sent the text, or whoever you sent it to. Now open your messages. Boom.

Edit: If this doesn’t work, have the person who sent it to you send a photo. Still doesn’t work? Go into your iMessage on a Mac if possible and delete the character texts. Retry the first and second method.

Edit 2: to everyone saying “a random number sent me the text and now I can’t get back in” you can open the iMessages app and when it crashes double tap the home button and look from the app preview to see the number.


Since the Messages app opens to the last conversation, which is the message with Arabic/Unicode characters that caused iMessage to crash, asking the person to send a message in this conversation seems to resolve the issue. You can also try the following solutions:

Fix the Messages app crashing issue by sending message using Siri

You can fix the issue by sending the message to yourself. As reader Sean points out, you can do this by using Siri. You can follow these steps:

  • Long press the Home button to launch Siri.
  • Then say “Send a message to myself”.
  • Siri will ask you what message you want to send. You can send any message.
  • Siri will prompt you if you want to send the message. Say “Yes” or tap on Send to send the message to yourself.

Fix the Messages app crashing issue by sending message using Photos app/Sharing Sheet

Alternatively, you can also use the share sheet in any app such as Photos app.

  • Launch the Photos app
  • Tap on any photo.
  • Tap on the Share button at the bottom left corner.
  • Tap on the Message icon.
  • Select your contact by tapping on the + icon, or enter your mobile number.
  • Tap Send to send the message.

New: Another way to fix the iMessage crashing issue with Siri

Another method to fix the issue to ask Siri to read unread messages, and then reply to the message.

  • Long press the Home button to launch Siri.
  • Then tell Siri “Read me my unread messages”.
  • After Siri reads the unread message or messages, it will ask you if you would like to reply to the message.
  • Say “Yes”. You can send any message.
  • Siri will prompt you if you want to send the message. Say “Yes” or tap on Send to send the message.

New: Another Siri method where you text someone else.

  • Long press the Home button to launch Siri.
  • Then tell Siri to “Text message <name>”
  • Siri will acknowledge and ask you what you want to say.
  • At this point, tap on Send. This should open the Messages app, and fix the issue.

The above solutions should fix the issue of opening the Messages app after receiving the Unicode/Arabic text. Please note that we have noticed that the solutions don’t work all the time, so recommend trying the solutions mentioned here to see if it helps.

Other solutions

If you want to prevent someone from rebooting your iPhone then you can also try to disable Notifications on the Lock screen (Settings > Notifications > Messages > Tap on the toggle next to Show on Lock Screen to turn it off), and also disable banner notifications by tapping on None under Alert Style when unlocked.

Alternatively, if you want to prevent someone from targeting you with the malicious messages until Apple releases a patch to fix the issue, you can take the extreme step of disabling iMessage (Settings > Messages > iMessage) on your iPhone.

Video Walkthrough

You can also check our video walkthrough to get a better idea about the issue, and how to fix it:

Update 1:

Several users who have contacted Apple on the issue are reporting that the company is aware of the issue, and will release a software update to fix the issue.

Update 2:

We’ve updated the post with few more solutions (we’ve prefixed it with “New”) and a video walkthrough of the issue, and how you can fix it.

Update 3 (May 28):

We’ve update the post with the official workaround from Apple to fix the issue.

Update 4 (May 29):

Jailbreakers can install the IneffectivePower jailbreak tweak to fix the issue permanently. Check this post for more details.

Did you face this issue? Let me know if the above method resolved the issue.