How To Fix The ‘Black Dot’ Unicode Bug Crashing iMessage

There’s a new iPhone and iPad bug crashing people’s messaging apps, and all it takes is two texts. Yet another Unicode bug has been discovered that is capable of crashing apps and operating systems, ranging from WhatsApp on Android to iMessage on iOS.

Like other bugs of the same nature, receiving a text with the offending string it causes Apple’s Messages app to crash and burn. And the bug is doing the rounds and causing crashing carnage on Apple’s iOS and macOS-based devices. Thankfully, there is a workaround which restores some sanity.

We won’t share the exact string, to prevent it from spreading further, but it includes black dot (⚫) and pointing left (👈) emojis plus other hidden characters.

If you have experienced anything like this bug before, or it happens to be driving you crazy, then let’s dive right in and take a look at how you can use the features at your disposal to resolve the problem and restore access to the device and the Messages app. With two routes here to follow depending on whether or not you have a device capable of 3D Touch:

How to fix the Unicode bug on iPhone 6s and newer:

Step 1: First of all, you will need to force close the Messages app to get back to the Home screen. Invoke Siri via the usual mechanism and give the instruction to send a text to the person who sent you the malicious message. This will ensure that the affected string of text isn’t the last message in that conversation.

Step 2: Use the 3D Touch action on the Messages icon and select to compose a new message. Once that happens, tap on Cancel in the top-right corner of the conversation list.

Step 3: Select Edit. Tap the circle to the left of the conversation containing the problematic message. A blue checkmark will appear. Tap on Delete in the bottom-right corner to remove the offending conversation from the messages list.

How to fix on pre-iPhone 6s devices:

If you have an iPhone with Siri but not 3D Touch, ranging from the iPhone 4s to the iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone SE, the steps are slightly different.

Step 1: Force close the Messages app to get back to the Home screen. Ask Siri assistant to send as many messages as possible to ensure that the string of Unicode is no longer present on the display at all when the conversation is opened.

Step 2: Open the Messages app once again. Tap on the back arrow in the top-left corner to return to the conversation list. Tap on Edit and then tap the circle to the left of the affected conversation list. A blue checkmark will appear.

Step 3: Tap on Delete in the bottom-right corner to successfully remove the selected conversation containing the problematic message.

It may also be possible to delete the problematic message on another device running the iOS 11.4 or macOS 10.13.5 betas via Messages on iCloud.

As said this latest Unicode bug was discovered only last week, it is now beginning to receive widespread attention in the Apple Community, after it was highlighted on a few popular YouTube channels. Apple will likely release a patch for this particular bug as part of iOS 11.4 final release but until then, the above workaround fixes should do the trick.

(Top image: Black dot text message bug on iOS 11.3 /11.4)

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