Creator of photo that bricked Android phones says it was unintentional

The individual responsible for creating an image that soft-bricked many Android devices has come forward, revealing that he had no idea his photo would cause so many problems.
Last week, we reported that setting a certain image as a wallpaper on some Android phones caused them to crash and get stuck in a loop that turns the display on and off, making it impossible to get past the lock screen. It affected most Android handsets, especially Samsung smartphones.

It was discovered that the problem lay with the image’s format. Rather than using Android’s preferred sRGB, it uses the RGB color space. As Android 10 doesn’t convert this format, incompatible handsets were being soft-bricked when it was set as the wallpaper. Users were able to recover their devices by restarting them in safe mode and deleting the image file, or using the bootloader to reset the phone completely.

It’s noted that the image has no effect on phones running the Android 11 preview, which converts non-supported color spaces.

Now, the person who uploaded the image has come forward. Speaking to the BBC, San Diego-based scientist and amateur photographer Gaurav Agrawal says he took the photo at St Mary Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana, in August 2019.

After capturing the shot on his Nikon camera, Agrawal did a bit of editing in Lightroom. When exporting the final image, he chose the RGB color space format.

“I didn’t know the format would do this,” he said. “I have an iPhone, and my wallpaper is always a photo of my wife.”

The photographer has over 10,000 followers on the photography platform Flickr and his work has appeared in National Geographic magazine.

“I hoped my photograph would have gone ‘viral’ for a good reason, but maybe that’s for another time,” he said. “I’m going to use another format from now on.”