'Black spot of death': Destructive message spreads to iMessage on iPhone, after WhatsApp bug

It is possible to get around the problem – but not easy

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 10 May 2018 09:13 BST
Comments
An Apple employee demonstrates the Animoji feature on the new iPhone X at the Apple Store Union Square on November 3, 2017, in San Francisco, California
An Apple employee demonstrates the Animoji feature on the new iPhone X at the Apple Store Union Square on November 3, 2017, in San Francisco, California (ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)

A small message is spreading around iPhones and forcing them to break.

The text – known as the "black spot of death" because it arrives in the form of a dark, circular emoji – has hit iMessage and will cause problems for any phones that receive it.

The Independent is not publishing the text of the message, or any details of it. But it is widely available on the internet and can be easily sen to anyone using an iPhone.

The message is known by the black dot, and makes it look like that is to blame. But in fact the black dot is only hiding the true attack: contained within it are a series of HTML characters that can't be handled by the phone, and so cause it to break down.

It appears to have started on WhatsApp for Android, where it initially spread quickly. But it has now been found to hit iMessage on the iPhone, too.

There is a way to get around the problems that it causes for iPhones, but it is not especially easy. First, you need to force close messages and then ask Siri to send a message back to the person who sent it, so that it is no longer the most recent message; after that, head into messages and delete the conversation.

The solution unfortunately means that you will also lose your entire conversation history with that person. But there appears to be no more simple way of getting around the bug.

It appears to be easier to delete the message for people who are on the beta versions of the newest updates to iOS.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in