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Don’t try this at home: there’s a wallpaper that soft bricks some Android phones

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Again, before we start:

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME OR ANYWHERE ON ANY DEVICE YOU WANT TO USE

There have often been certain photos that cause phones to crash — usually iPhones, and not the Ausdroid wallpapers we put on them when we venture to that section of JB Hi-Fi etc. Now there is one doing the rounds of the Internet that causes some Android phones to crash and soft brick.

Leaker, Ice Universe, tweeted about it last week imploring users to ignore it if someone sends you the picture. Of course there is always someone who wants to try it and yes, it crashed many phones — especially Samsung devices.

The image is causing some Android phones to soft brick once that image is set as the wallpaper. Once soft booting there is no way to boot it up normally without either resetting it or using ADB to delete the image. 9to5Google tested it out on their Pixel 2 and it crashed it — we tested it on our OnePlus 7 Pro and it did NOT crash it but as we said before DO NOT TRY THIS FOR YOURSELF IF YOU LIKE THAT PHONE.

Some developers got their hands on the image and looked into it and found that it had to do with the colours in the image. Android typically wants to display wallpapers as sRGB but this wallpaper uses RGB instead. Android 11 converts this RGB colour space to sRGB but Android 10 does not. That doesn’t fully explain why some devices are affected and others are not considering that not many devices (including our OnePlus 7 Pro) are running Android 11 — it is possible those manufacturers built in this colour space conversion themselves in prior versions of Android.

If you do happen to ever encounter this issue either with this image or another the easiest way to fix it is by resetting the device within the bootloader. Maybe it is just safer to take a photo of your pet, kids or significant other and just use that as your wallpaper from now on.