Having pleasing or eye-catching wallpapers is a big deal for some people, be it on their computers or even on their phones. It’s not uncommon for people to download random wallpapers from the Internet without a second thought. After all, what are the chances of a simple image wrecking havoc on a phone? Apparently, it’s not as difficult as you might think now that it has been discovered that an image has the capability to crash a Samsung phone or even an older Pixel phone when you make it your wallpaper.
This is one of those cases of “do not try this at home” or, in this case, on your phone, whether it’s a Samsung phone or not. While it’s certainly possible to recover from the crash, it requires that you are able to delete the image from your device before it even loads the Android UI. Otherwise, you’ll have to reset the device to factory settings.
The reason why such a pretty wallpaper would cause Android to crash is exactly because of how pretty it is. To be exact, the color profile it uses to display those rich colors is, in a nutshell, a bit too much for the Android operating system to handle. On a more technical level, the color data used in the original image’s embedded Skia profile goes beyond an acceptable range, and, unfortunately, Android simply crashes because of it.
The bug was first reported to affect Samsung Galaxy phones but 9to5Google later reported that it also affected a Pixel 3 XL. Their investigation further revealed that this bug could affect phones running Android 10 or older as it seems to behave properly on a Pixel 4 XL running the Android 11 preview, For now, it might be best not to risk it at all.
The slightly good news is that, if you are really taken with the wallpaper, is that you can convert it to use a safer sRGB profile using GIMP or Photoshop. Either that or wait for Android 11 to be released for your phone which, for Samsung phones, will probably take half a year or more after its availability.