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Photo Breaks Android Phones

Anas Nassief Anas Nassief
30th June 2020
Photo Breaks Android Phones
Google, Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, and Xiaomi are still reportedly affected (Gaurav Agrawal)

The Claim

An image set as wallpaper caused Android phones to fail.  

Emerging story

Social media users posted a photo of a sunset, claiming that it crashed Android smartphones after being set as background lock-screen wallpaper.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation found that the claim is true. the photo making rounds on social media is a photo of a sunset that was taken at St Mary Lake in Glacier National Park using a Nikon D850 by Gaurav Agrawal.

According to the BBC, 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 wallpaper.

Several brands seem to be affected including Samsung and Google's Pixel. The bug makes the screen turn on and off continuously. In some cases a factory reset is required. The phone likely crashes because it doesn't know how to process the photo correctly. Software developers probably did not consider that this might happen.

As Bogdan Petrovan at Android Authority explains here, Android phones can only use sRGB for wallpapers. While an AdobeRGB or ProPhoto RGB image would simply look “wrong” if used, this specific photo's color space causes a problem because it indicates more than 255 RGB values.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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