Warning! A picture as wallpaper can corrupt your Android phone

Yes!! You read that right and it’s quite true.

Recently, news has started to spread about a wallpaper that actually kills the phone or in other words stops it. The problem mainly arises for people using Google and Samsung devices running Android 10. We recently heard that wallpaper causes devices to crash and become unusable. Many of them went ahead and uploaded that picture as their phone’s wallpaper much to their dismay when their phones totally freaked out on them.

Even the famous leaked “Ice Universe” tweeted to warn users not to use the wallpaper.

He wrote:
“WARNING!!!Never set this picture as wallpaper, especially for Samsung mobile phone users! It will cause your phone to crash! Don’t try it! If someone sends you this picture, please ignore it.”

In fact, some thought that it was all a joke. So, he continued to warn people and replied,

“This is not a joke, please do not try, I hope someone can understand its crash mechanism to avoid the harm of such wallpapers to the phone. Please developers to study it…”

Obviously, many of them ignored his warning and downloaded that picture and tried it. So many users started freaking out about their phones “bricking”. In a funny but sad Twitter reply to @UniverseIce’s warning, @itsyoboymattyg got himself into a bit of trouble.

He tweeted,
“Dude it just bricked my phone. I had to factory reset my s10. I thought it was a joke”

Matty G was not alone in having his phone suffer from bricking. Over two-thousand people replied to the tweet with issues after downloading the wallpaper picture. The problem only appears for users who use the original photo as their wallpaper, not for users who take a screenshot of the photo or download it from social media platforms like Weibo.

Many users also tweeted in the form of advice to tackle with these issues.
One of them was Khalifa Buhazza who tweeted,
“Solved and it is normal now. Just after entering “Safe Mode” delete the picture from the Gallery and change the wallpaper to default and then exit the “Safe Mode” by restarting and the device will start as it was.”

Besides, a twitter user named @theothomy also tweeted and gave his suggestions about how to overcome this situation, he tweeted:
“Working solution for me (Note9)
Enter Safe Mode
1. Open Camera
2. Take a Picture
3. Open the Gallery/Picture you’ve just taken
4. Set it as Wallpaper (Home Screen & Lock screen)

According to 9to5Google, the problem lies with the color space of this specific image. What’s happened here is that the way some phones deal with these cases has gone wrong. The phone crashes because it doesn’t know how to deal with it correctly, and the software developers probably hadn’t considered this might happen.

Typically, Android wants to display sRGB, but this image uses the RGB color space instead. On Android 11, the system converts the color space, but on Android 10 it does not.

So the concern was – Why this is happening?

One of the famous YouTuber “MrWhoseTheBoss” explained it well why these issues were happening in his recent video and he said that:

1. It was due to a single pixel in the picture, which was sending Android phones using the Google Image processing engine in an error loop.

2. This is happening due to the limitation of color space to 255 by Android because the operating system supports the standard RGB format (sRGB) for displaying images, which can be capped at 255 luminances. The image was encoded in ProPhoto RGB format which has a wider range than sRGB, however, that is not the problem. The problem is with a pixel that brought the image variables to 256 luminances and caused the devices to crash.

He further stated that this can easily be fixed with a line of code in the android source, which indicates that if the variables of a pixel are greater than 255 luminance, the system must convert it directly to 255 luminance.
Besides this, Android Toolkit manager at Google, also respond to a tweet, said that the problem was not the color space conversion problem that most people pointed to, but that it was due to the way the luminance is calculated.

So, if you want to set this picture as your wallpaper then simply screenshot this picture and set it as your wallpaper. It’s the best and safe method for Android phone users.

To see how this wallpaper actually affects the Android phone and cause to brick the phone, check out our video:

Also, check out the MrWhoseTheBoss’s video that shows the live example of how setting this picture as a wallpaper crashed the android phone and explains why this is happening:


Srihari Karanth is an active developer and Founder of TrackMyPhones. He is a former Software Architect in Global MNC. He now works on building new innovative mobile applications and websites. You can reach him at Srihari@TrackMyPhones.com

Website: https://TrackMyPhones.com

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