Black dot bug hits iPhone: How to fix if this emoji breaks your iMessages

The string of text and emojis can cause your iMessages to freeze, but it is fixable.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read

An iPhone bug can cause your iMessages to crash.


If you thought emojis were harmless, well, this one can freeze your iPhone's messaging app.

A new iMessage bug involving a string of text and the black dot emoji (⚫️) can overload iMessage if sent to your iPhone. The bug was spotted by YouTuber EverythingApplePro, who frames it as a prank to freeze people's phones . Watch him explain the bug in the video below:

EverythingApplePro says the bug affects iPhones running iOS 11 to iOS 11.4, but we aren't sure if he tested earlier versions. CNET hasn't tested the bug on our iPhones yet, but other outlets such as 9to5Mac and Tom's Guide report encountering the bug.

The good news is there's a fix:

  • If the bug crashes your iMessages, force close the iMessage app
  • Then 3D Touch the iMessage app from the home screen, and select New Message
  • Hit cancel on the New Message screen, and that'll take you back to your list of iMessage convos
  • From there you can delete the message with the bug

If your phone doesn't have 3D Touch, the steps are a little different. MacRumors provides a guide for these iPhones that encounter the bug:

  • Force close iMessage
  • Bring up Siri and ask it to "Send a reply to... [whoever sent you the bug]"
  • Keep sending replies through Siri until the bug is off screen in the iMessage convo
  • Open iMessage and hit back so you get to the conversation list
  • From the conversation list, you can delete the thread with the bug

This bug is similar to another bug involving an Indian language symbol that crashed iOS apps when displayed. Luckily Apple acknowledged that bug and rolled out a fix in the next software update. 

CNET has reached out to Apple about the black dot bug and will update when we hear back.

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