A bug in iOS 8 turns a string of Unicode characters into a phone-crashing catastrophe.

Read more: How to avoid the 1970 iPhone bug, and what to do if you get it | How to fix Error 53

If you receive a message with the characters, either as an iMessage or an SMS text from contacts on other platforms, your iPhone will crash--but only if you open it. If you receive a notification with the message on your lock screen, your phone will either reboot or lock you out of Messages altogether.

The bug doesn't actually generate the message--some prankster with your phone number has to actually send the code to you. Let's hope your friends aren't jerks. If one of your contacts does send you a malicious message, its effects can be reversed with a follow-up message--or you can send yourself the fix from your Mac by replying to the original string in Messages on OS X, according to The Verge. (The bug only affects iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.)

You can also use Siri or a share sheet to send yourself a message on your iPhone or iPad, if you don't have a Mac or can't get to it.

The impact on you: This bug is incredibly annoying, but isn't the first time Messages has been hijacked. The only real solution: A software update from Apple. In the meantime, don't open messages with strange characters, and if your friends are jerks, turn off notifications for Messages in your iPhone settings (and do the same for Apple Watch) so the offending Unicode won't pop up on your lock screen. We'll update this story when the fix is in.

Our most popular iPhone tutorials:

How to jailbreak an iPhone

How to unlock an iPhone

How to back up an iPhone

How to block phone numbers on an iPhone

How to reset, factory-reset, restore or restart an iPhone

How to update to the latest version of iOS on an iPhone

How to take a screenshot on an iPhone