Photo makes some Android phones unable to boot – reports

Gelo Gonzales

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Photo makes some Android phones unable to boot – reports
Solutions to fix the reported issue include factory resetting or finding a way to access the phone's system to delete the image file

MANILA, Philippines – A photo that may cause some Android phones unable to boot has been discovered, as reported by Android-centric news sites Android Authority and 9to5Google

The photo, showing a lake and sunlight peeking through the clouds, when set as a wallpaper reportedly crashes the phone. Android Authority’s Bogdan Petrovan tried it on his Google Pixel 2, and it immediately crashed the phone. The phone rebooted several times but “but the screen would constantly turn on and off, making it impossible to pass the security screen.” Petrovan had to factory reset the phone to restore normal function, but ended up losing all the saved data on his phone. He also tried it on a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which was unaffected. 

“Restarting the device in safe mode (by holding down the volume button during boot-up) did not fix the issue,” Petrovan said. 

There is no clear list of which phones may be affected but Android Authority says that users of some Google, Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, and Xiaomi phones have reported being vulnerable to the issue. 

Though the image’s origin is unclear, Samsung leaker Ice Universe was the first to post it on Twitter, warning users not to set it as a wallpaper “especially for Samsung phones.” Ice Universe also asked people to ignore the image if sent to them. 

In a later tweet, Ice Universe said that Samsung is working on an update to fix the issue, and showed a video of how the bug affects what appears to be a Samsung Galaxy Note phone. 


While there is no official word yet from Google on what may be causing the bug, 9to5Google’s Dylan Roussel says it may be because of the color space being used. Specifically, the image causing the bug uses the RGB color space, but Android 10, the current available commercial version, uses sRGB. Certain Android 10 phones may have problems dealing with RGB images. 


If the problem is as Roussel describes it, there may be other images capable of soft-bricking an Android phone just like an emoji did to iPhones in the past. If it occurs, suggested solutions include resetting the phone, or finding a way to get into the device to delete the offending file. –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.