APPLE device users are being warned about a new “black dot of death” bug that could completely crash your iMessages.
Opening the virus – said to be more harmful than the WhatsApp text bomb – on an iPhone or iPad will wipe out your iOS messaging app, reports The Sun.
It works in a similar way to the WhatsApp bug and overloads the phone with thousands of pieces of unicode text.
What makes it worse, however, is that there doesn’t appear to be an easy way of deleting the message once you’ve received it.
If the message is opened, the screen of the device will go blank – and will remain that way until Apple solves the issue.
And don’t even think about restarting your phone as that will only reload the text and crash the device.
The best thing to do is to force-close the Messages application.
One way to do this is to use 3D Touch to press and hold the Messages icon and then tap “New Message” to regain access.
You can then cancel the new message, which will take you back to your list of iMessage conversations.
Finally, press the Edit button and delete the infected message.
But if you’re using an older iPhone model then this might not be available to you.
Another way of avoiding it is to ask Siri to start a new conversation and this will also give you back access to your messages.
The bug has earned its name because all that’s visible in the message is a black dot emoji, which is surrounded by thousands and thousands of invisible characters that overload the CPU and crash the phone.
Last week, a new malicious WhatsApp “text bomb” that can block off access to your apps and crash your entire smartphone was also discovered.
The bug affects both iPhones and Android phones and occurs when a specific message is sent to handsets.
And it’s even more dangerous than the infamous smartphone-crashing Telugu alphabet text from February, because this new SMS doesn’t even need to be opened.
Just receiving it can trigger your handset to switch off.
Revealed on Reddit, the message reads “This is very interesting!” and signs off with the popular “face with tears of joy” emoji.
Lurking within this seemingly innocent text are tens of thousands of invisible “left-to-right” and “right-to-left” control characters that can derail your device, according to Neowin.
Tricksters wishing to circulate the text bomb are advised to copy it from the Pastebin website and share it via the WhatsApp web app for desktop.
If you’re on the receiving end of the new text bomb, you may find that your iPhone or Android phone becomes unresponsive.
You won’t be able to open WhatsApp and other messaging apps may be inaccessible too.
To make matters worse, your phone could crash, forcing you to restart it.
But fortunately, it doesn’t seem as though the WhatsApp bug will wipe your handset or require you to completely reboot the device.
The previous text bomb was caused by a symbol from the Telugu language, a Dravidian language spoken in India.
It disabled access to iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook and Gmail and if received sent the device into a frenzy by causing the iOS Springboard – which manages the iPhone’s home screen – to crash.
Apple rushed out a fix for the bug in February, in the form of an iOS software update, shortly after it was discovered.
You can bet that WhatsApp will be scrambling to do the same.
This story first appeared on The Sun and is reproduced with permission.