Black Dot Text Message Crashing Bug Hits iOS 11.3-Running iPhones And iPads
Did you, or someone you know, suffer from the ‘Black dot’ crashing issue which was forcing WhatsApp on Android to hang and become unresponsive? If so, then it’s time for you to laugh in the face of your iPhone and iPad-owning friends and colleagues, as the same emoji character has been shown to cause devices running iOS 11.3.1 and iOS 11.4 to crash and hang.
Android users have been experiencing this issue over the last few days, which manifested when a specific emoji character is received on the device.
Rather than being a single emoji dot, it was discovered that it actually comprised of thousands of individual characters which were invisible to the human eye, but which cause huge problems to the Android text rendering engine, causing it to literally abort and hang the device.
Now, the same issue has been discovered on Apple’s iPhone and iPad hardware running the latest firmware versions.
As with the behavior on Android, it seems that iOS also has issues processing the thousands of invisible characters, causing the device to run through an untold amount of CPU cycles trying to process the data. This ultimately eats up all of the memory of the device and causes the native Messages app to continually crash and leave the user unable to do anything within that app. Given the nature of the bug and the fact that it’s apparent on Android and iOS, logic dictates that Apple’s watchOS and macOS platforms would also behave in the same manner.
This particular bug isn’t malicious in nature, and by that, we mean that it isn’t capable of doing any lasting damage to the device or able to extract any data for unknown parties. However, it is extremely annoying and frustrating when you are left unable to use the native Messages app on Mac, iPhone, or iPad, meaning that the only way to rectify the issue is to somehow exit out of the Messages app and get to a point where you can delete the offending conversation in the list.
Apple, like Google, will deem this a critical bug considering it affects pretty much every device and there is no known way to combat it. So, with that in mind, we can hopefully expect a minor point release of iOS in the near future designed to fix the problem.