“Black Dot of Death” locks iOS messaging app
People who use iPhones, iPads, and Macs are at risk of encountering a Unicode attack that can cause the messaging app to crash and lock up the device. The good news is a workaround has been found which can restore the state of said Apple products.
What is going on?
A bug, known as “Black Dot,” is locking the messaging app on Apple devices running iOS 11.3 and 11.4 beta with Apple TVs and Apple Watches also at risk.
Black Dot is activated when an iOS user sends another user an iMessage (this is not an SMS) with an emoji of a black dot with a finger pointing at it. Loaded with plenty of invisible Unicode characters, this emoji will overwhelm the CPU and memory, forcing the messaging app to stop functioning and possibly lock up the device.
The affected user may be lucky enough to close the app, but the bug will remain when the program is opened again, causing everything to crash.
How do I squash this bug?
Apple’s development team is still working on a patch to address the issue, but you can apply a temporary remedy to keep your device going.
For devices that have Siri installed:
- Force close the program.
- Tell Siri to reply to the sender of the bugged message.
- Make Siri send replies until you do not see the black dot on the screen.
- Run the messaging app, tap Back, and remove the message that has the black dot from the list.
If your iPhone has 3D Touch installed:
- Force close the messaging app.
- Run 3D Touch on the program. Choose the new message option.
- When you see the new message window, tap Cancel to see the conversations list.
- Delete the message with the black dot from the list.
If your Apple device does not have 3D Touch or Siri installed:
- Try using a different Apple product that is synced to your iCloud account to run and log in to iMessage.
- Remove the message with the black dot from the conversation list in the former device. Make sure that you do not accidentally open the message in that app.
While this bug is a major issue, it has not infected many Apple products yet. Once the final version of iOS 11.4 is released, the problem should be resolved. If you need more information on properly maintaining your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, feel free to give us a call today!