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Watch out for this black dot WhatsApp message that could crash your phone

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Welcome to the latest in an ongoing series of sneaky messages that could crash your phone. In this case you need to watch out for a black dot in the center of a WhatsApp message – but apparently the buggy message isn't always so easy to spot.

As per Reddit threads (opens in new tab) and YouTube videos (opens in new tab), the message comes in a variety of forms, and works by hiding a bunch of characters that then get expanded when you tap the message. That information overload causes the app and perhaps even your phone to freeze, whether you're using Android or iOS.

Based on reports over the weekend, several variations of the message seem to be doing the rounds, so we can't tell you exactly what to look for. One of the most common versions is the aforementioned black dot variety, as per IBTimes (opens in new tab), but we haven't seen it ourselves.

Beware the black dot

There are also conflicting rumors about whether this only affects Android devices or can hang iPhones as well. WhatsApp itself has yet to make any comment on the bug or issue a patch to protect against it, so we can't yet be sure about exactly what's going on.

The good news is you don't have a lot to worry about – even if a prank-loving friend catches you out with one of these messages (opens in new tab), you just need to reset your phone to bring it back. You won't lose any data and there's no indication that any of these messages can hack into your device.

These malevolent strings of text do rely on a tap from the user though, so for a few days at least, be wary of any messages asking you to tap on a symbol or a word to see more: chances are you're being duped.

Via SlashGear (opens in new tab)

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.