The rapid churn of new smart phone hardware and software gives consumers more tech choices at a faster clip. Unfortunately, that schedule can also mean glitches slip through the cracks.
TechRadar is circulating word of the latest bug to affect iPhone and iPad models running iOS 11 software. If a user receives a text message containing a black dot sandwiched between the less-than and greater-than symbols (< >) followed by a left-facing pointing finger emoji, the Messages app will freeze. Quitting and re-opening the app will just return you to the last message viewed.
The bug originated on WhatsApp but migrated to iMessage. If someone with malice on their mind sends you the emoji string, your phone’s text functioning shuts down.
The software gives up because this unique emoji string contains a very long run of invisible Unicode that it simply can’t process all at once.
Fortunately, there's a solution. After your Messages app crashes, use 3D Touch on the Messages icon on your home screen. From there, you can select New Messages and bypass the corrupt emoji string. When you swipe left from the main Messages menu, you’ll be given the option of deleting the problem text. That should restore function.
The bug isn’t strictly limited to iPhones and iPads. Some Macs could be temporarily corrupted by the string as well. Now that Apple is aware of the issue, users can expect a fix shortly.