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How to Fix the 'Black Dot' Unicode Bug Crashing iMessage

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. 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.


Simply put, this particular Unicode string cannot be rendered properly and leads to system crashing. In general, when the bug affects iMessage, the issue can be resolved by deleting the conversation containing the problematic message. The following steps work on iPhone 6s and newer, excluding the iPhone SE:
  • Force close the Messages app.
  • Ask Siri to send a reply to the sender of the message so that the Unicode string is no longer the most recent bubble in the conversation.
  • 3D Touch on the Messages app icon from the home screen and tap New Message in the menu that pops open.
  • Tap on Cancel in the top-right corner of the New Message screen.
  • Tap on Edit in the top-left corner of the conversation list.
  • 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.
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:
  • Force close the Messages app.
  • Ask Siri to send a reply to the sender of the message as many times as necessary until the bubble containing the Unicode string is bumped off the visible part of the conversation.
  • Open the Messages app.
  • Tap on the back arrow in the top-left corner to return to the conversation list.
  • Tap on Edit in the top-left corner of the conversation list.
  • 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.
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.

While this latest Unicode bug was discovered last week, it is only now beginning to receive widespread attention in the Apple community, after it was highlighted on a few popular YouTube channels. We've elected not to provide any links, but the specific string is easily Google-able for those interested.

The bug affects both iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.4 beta, and many other software versions, platforms, and devices. Apple has yet to issue a fix, but it will likely release software updates to address the problem soon.



Top Rated Comments

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7 months ago

Or just use another messaging app.


At this point, just throw the whole iOS 11 out the window! It was a compete dumpster fire.


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. We won't share the exact string, to prevent it from spreading further, but it includes "black dot" and "pointing left" emojis and other characters.


Literally the first paragraph in the article people. Take the time to read the article before posting your hate messages.
Rating: 20 Votes
7 months ago

At this point, just throw the whole iOS 11 out the window! It was a compete dumpster fire.

The article says that Android is also impacted…
Rating: 18 Votes
7 months ago

Or just use another messaging app.

iMessage is the best messaging platform though, especially from a security standpoint. Glitches happen sometimes. The better solution is to wait for the fix (which is usually fast) and not have terrible friends who would send this to you to begin with.
Rating: 10 Votes
7 months ago
At this point, just throw the whole iOS 11 out the window! It was a compete dumpster fire.
Rating: 10 Votes
7 months ago
It's like no one at Apple or Google has ever met Little Bobby Tables.

Rating: 7 Votes
7 months ago
iPhone 4 with iOS 7 here, immune to this problem. ;)
Rating: 7 Votes
7 months ago
85% of the readers will try to reproduce the bug right after they read the article. 100% succeeded.
Rating: 5 Votes
7 months ago

At this point, just throw the whole iOS 11 out the window! It was a compete dumpster fire.


According to the artice it affects Android as well.

Maybe we shall throw all smartphones out the window? ;)
Rating: 5 Votes
7 months ago
The black spot!

Rating: 4 Votes
7 months ago

I'd love to hear a technical explanation for why these issues keep coming up.

Since it impacts both Android and iOS, I assume this is something low-lying in a common library for handling Unicode? What exactly is that doing which ends up with such bad results when it messes up... and like... couldn't you write some unit tests which just generate hundreds of millions of random strings to throw at that function during testing?


[MEDIA=youtube]jC4NNUYIIdM[/MEDIA]
Rating: 4 Votes

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