This seemingly innocent link causes big problems on Mac and iOS

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Avoid this link on Apple devices.
Photo: Apple

Another strange bug has been discovered in Messages for Mac and iOS. Following a certain URL causes all kinds of issues on both platforms, including freezes, restarts, and even battery issues. You don’t even have to open the link to suffer the problems.

You can blame Apple for not fixing certain bugs before making software updates available to the public. But there are times when a bug is so bizarre that there’s no way it could have been noticed during beta testing. This is one of those bugs.

Beware this seemingly innocent link

Uncovered by Abraham Masri on Twitter, the “chaiOS” issue is caused by what looks like an innocent GitHub link. Send or receive it on a device running macOS or iOS and it can cause a whole host of frustrating problems.

Those who have tested it report that it can freeze the Messages app, cause iOS devices to restart, crash Safari on macOS, cause noticeable lag on both platforms, and even impact battery life. You don’t have to follow the link to suffer these issues; just receiving it is enough to cause problems.

Any Messages conversation that contains the link will cause the issues to repeat when the thread is opened again. The only fix for this is to delete the conversation (without opening it) and start a new one.

The offending link can be seen in the tweet below. We obviously recommend that you do not attempt to send it to anyone via the Messages app.

Messages has suffered similar bugs before

The Messages app has suffered problems of this nature a number of times in the past, and although they are typically harmless, they are incredibly annoying. According to 9to5Mac, the latest public versions of macOS and iOS, as well as recent betas, are affected.

Apple probably won’t rush to fix the issue since it doesn’t cause any serious harm or pose any risk to your data. But the company will surely address it in a future update at some point. Until then, steer clear of the link if you can.

Update: Apple says “a fix is coming in a software update next week,” according to BuzzFeed.