Beware! Setting This Image As Wallpaper Could Brick Your Smartphone

Ruben Fields
June 3, 2020

This was highlighted by a popular Twitter tech account, Ice Universe, which warned people against using the faulty wallpaper, CNET quoted a report from Android Authority.

Dozens of Android phone owners are reporting on social media that a picture featuring a lake, a cloudy sunset and a green shoreline is crashing their handsets when used as a screensaver. Evidently, if you set a specific wallpaper on your Android smartphone, it can soft-brick it - or send it into a bootloop. 9to5Google notes that it is possible to restart your phone in safe mode and uninstall the image file as a potential workaround, but Android Authority says it ultimately had to reset the computer to normalize things.

So what's causing all this?

"After setting the image in question as a wallpaper, the phone immediately crashed".

The bug makes the screen turn on and off continuously.

Anyway, the bottom line is don't install this wallpaper and do let you friends and family know about it, else they will just have a bad day trying to solve the issue.

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The image appears to affect devices running Android 10 - the latest version of the OS.

Android phone users, especially Samsung devices, have reported that a certain "faulty" wallpaper image is causing their smartphones to crash. Android typically wants to display wallpapers as sRGB but this wallpaper uses RGB instead. Earlier this year, a bug was found in iOS 13 causing iPhones to crash displaying certain characters from the Sindhi language. Any photograph with a histogram value higher than 255 - like the so-called cursed image - exceeds the limit of the sRGB colour space native to Android. The image itself is attractive enough to convince some people to save it and set it as a wallpaper. That said, we have been unable to replicate this issue on many other devices.

Although it is easy enough to avoid using the above mentioned image as a wallpaper, it appears to be the case that any RGB image causes the same problems.

As such, do not attempt to download and apply this wallpaper to your device (or anyone else's). 9to5Google notes that Android 11 devices don't crash because they'll convert the color space in a way that resolves the problem.

The crash might force you to restore the phone to factory settings, which means you'd lose all the data in the process.

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