Black Dot of Death ⚫

Black Dot of Death ⚫

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Updated May 09, 2018 at 05:54PM EDT by Matt.

Added May 09, 2018 at 01:09PM EDT by Matt.

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Black Dot of Death ⚫ is the colloquial name for a digital bug associated with the Unicode Black Circle emoji (⚫ ). When sent, either via Apple's Messages app or WhatsApp, the recipients messaging app freezes.


On May 4th, 2018, the India Times[1] reported that users of WhatsApp were receiving messages asking them to taptic touch the Black Circle emoji. When the recipient performs the gesture, their phone's message app crashes.

The Black Circle is not what causes the issue. When the message is converted to HTML, it contains multiple hidden mentions of the "&rlm:" character, the code for for right-to-left text directional formatting.[2]

.11 5596 a 7:05 pm If you touch the black point then your whatsapp will hang t-touch-here 6:13 PM Android only for now. 6:13 PM Those with Android phones, please take the plunge. 6:14 PM Lol. What is this sorcery? 6:19 PM I have no clue. Came as a forward. 6:25 PM


Apple Messages

On May 8th, YouTuber EverythingApplePro published a video that showcased how the bug affects Apple's iPhone. The post (shown below) received more than 265,000 views in 24 hours.

For Apple's Messages application, the user must send two text messages. The first is the black circle, and the second are those hidden characters, which overload the system. The bug affects Apple's iOS 11.3 and 11.4 beta.


After the iPhone receives the message, the Messages application will become non-responsive. The only way to fix the issue is to "Force Touch" on the Messages application, select "New Message" and return to the messages list screen from the "New Messages" screen by selecting "Cancel." From there, the "Black Dot" message can be deleted.

Media Coverage

Several media outlets covered the bug, including Cult of Mac,[3] Mashable, [4] Inverse[5] and more.

Search Interest

External References

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