A strange problem with how Android smartphones handle wallpaper images is causing handsets to crash. The issue was discovered over the weekend, and shared by Twitter account Ice Universe, who is best known as a leaker of Samsung news. The problem is thought to affect almost all Android smartphones, apart from those running the new Android 11 beta.
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Samsung phones are said to be particularly at risk, while notable exceptions that aren't affected include OnePlus phones and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, although it isn't clear as to why.
All Android owners are strongly urged to follow Ice Universe's advice, and not set the image as their wallpaper. You can safely see the image in the tweet embedded below, but do not download it onto your handset.
Although setting the image as the wallpaper doesn't completely disable Android handsets, it causes them to get stuck in a loop that repeatedly turns the lock screen on and off, Rebooting the phone does not fix the problem.
The only way to fix an affected phone is to boot it into safe mode then navigate to the image and delete it from the phone's file system.
It was later discovered that the crashing isn't caused by that one specific image, but by any wallpapers that use the RGB color profile instead of sRGB, which Android prefers. Android 11 is unaffected as it converts any RGB images to sRGB before they are applied to the wallpaper.
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. They can be viewed safely through an app like Google Photos, but the crashing occurs when they are used as the device wallpaper.
As such, Android users are asked to be extra careful about where they get their wallpapers from, as pranksters could take advantage of this situation before Google rolls out a patch via a future software update.