Recent concerns about the security and stability of its software have reportedly caused Apple to delay the addition of some features to the next major update to iOS as it works on further optimising the code, perhaps to stave off a repeat of the early difficulties following the release of iOS 11.
A new bug that's been identified shows that may be the right move after all, as multiple reports show receiving a single Telugu - an Indian language - character can cause many iOS apps to crash, and then refuse to start up again.
Initially, only the Messages app on iOS was believed to be affected but third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Gmail, Outlook for iOS and Facebook Messenger have since been added to the list of affected apps.
Receiving the character will cause iOS Springboard to crash, and the app will fail to start again as it keeps trying to (unsuccessfully) load the character. Restoring functionality to an app affected this way requires deleting the character through other means. For example, by asking a friend to send you an iMessage and using that to delete the message thread containing the offending character or by using WhatsApp Web to do the same.
Among the major messaging apps, Telegram and Skype seem to unaffected and the public betas for iOS 11.3 are also not exhibiting the same problems. Fortunately, users won't have to wait until the official release of iOS 11.3 in the spring for a solution, as Apple has confirmed it will be releasing a new update that will fix the problem soon.
This is not the first time iPhones have suffered from such crashes. Last month, it was revealed a specific link could crash the Messages app, while the same was true for a video back in 2016. Similar incidents have occurred at other times, calling into question the reliability of Apple's software.