Harvey Day15 May 2018 AT 11:16 AM

Watch out for this ‘black dot of death’ if you’re an iPhone or WhatsApp user

Here's what it does and how you can fix it
Harvey Day15 May 2018 AT 11:16 AM
Watch out for this ‘black dot of death’ if you’re an iPhone or WhatsApp user
© Unsplash

When you spend a large chunk of your time online, as many of us know, you’ve got to keep your eye out for anything that seems a little fishy. We all know not to click on pop-ups, for example, and to steer clear of dodgy-looking emails.

The latest technical bug to watch out for is the 'text bomb', a glitch that can cause your WhatsApp and iMessage to malfunction.

The bug was spotted by YouTuber EverythingApplePro, who explains it in his video below:

According to a computer security expert, the so-called ‘text bomb,’ which appears in the form of a black dot emoji, can crash some of the normal operations of your Android and iPhone.

Tech guru Graham Cluley said on his blog: “Yes, it is true that so-called ‘text bomb’ vulnerabilities are capable of crashing normal operations on your Android or iPhone.

“Unfortunately, apps like WhatsApp fail to handle the hidden character shenanigans gracefully, and fall over – causing the app to crash, and in some cases other instabilities on the device.”

He added: “The so-called ‘Black Dot of Death’ is a message you might receive which contains an emoji of a medium-sized black circle, perhaps accompanied by an emoji of a pointed finger urging you to click on the ominous black hole.

“The ‘Black dot' itself appears to be harmless, but once again hidden inside the message are many invisible Unicode characters that simply overload the phone, ultimately causing your iMessage app to crash in unpredictable ways.”

According to CNET, it’s not the end of the world if you fall for the bug – there is something you can do.

If the bug crashes your iMessages, force close the app then 3D Touch the iMessage app from the home screen, and select New Message.

Next, hit cancel on the New Message screen, and it’ll take you back to your list of iMessage conversations and from there you can delete the message with the bug.