Gone are the days when instant messaging pranks simply involved clicking on links that would take you to some scary, funny, or shocking image or video. These days, a prank can cause your messaging app or, worse, your phone, to crash and restart, sometimes repeatedly. That has exactly been the case with Apple’s Messages app, for both iOS and macOS, which has, time and again, been vulnerable to such bugs. The latest one, nicknamed “chaiOS” is at least less destructive but still very disruptive.
Like all other such bugs, it all starts with a seemingly innocent piece of text or link. In this case, it looks like a valid GitHub link. But, for still unexplained reasons, sending it will cause the recipients Messages up to behave somewhat randomly, but all in bad ways.
On iOS, sending the link may cause the recipient’s app to freeze or crash. In some cases, it might affect both the recipient as well as the sender. On macOS, it would simply freeze Safari or make Messages slow down to a crawl.
No technical reason has been found yet why such a link would have that effect on these Apple devices. It could easily be how the web page of the link was coded, affecting how the Messages app tries to preview the web page. As it isn’t (yet) a critical bug, it is a nuisance, requiring users to try to delete the conversation thread or start a new one in order to escape the loop.