Be warned – this image could ruin your smartphone (@UniverseIce/Twitter)

A ‘cursed’ picture of an idyllic lake surrounded by trees and mountains is causing havoc with smartphones running Google’s Android operating system.

When the image is saved as a wallpaper, it bricks certain devices – such as Samsung’s Galaxy range of phones and Google’s own Pixel handsets.

Users have reported that other phone brands, such as OnePlus and Nokia, also seem to be affected.

When saved as a wallpaper, the picture activates a bug in the software that results in the phone being ‘soft-bricked’. That means the phone may appear to be working but it will keep crashing and displaying an error screen.

The bug was highlighted on Twitter by a user calling themselves ‘Ice universe’ who issued a warning not to install it.

The image appears to affect devices running Android 10 – the latest version of the OS.

According to a developer who spoke to tech site Android Authority, the bug arises because the Android system can’t handle the colour space (how the system assigns colours to images) and sends the phone into an infinite loop of processing.

‘The main issue right here is that SystemUI only handles sRGB images for the wallpaper and doesn’t have any check against non-sRGB wallpapers,’ the site explained.

‘This can lead to a particular crash in the ImageProcessHelper class, as a variable used to access an array goes over the array bounds.’

Nobody wants to have their phone bricked (Getty)

Of course, now that you’ve seen the image above you know not to install it on your phone. But the danger is that the picture could become weaponised by mischief-makers who want to try and brick other people’s phones.

While there doesn’t appear to be any way to undo the damage of the wallpaper once it’s been activated, there is hope of a fix from Google.

The company has been made aware of the problem and may issue a firmware update to tackle it. Also, there’s a new version of Android (Android 11) in the pipeline for release later this year that could address the problem.

Obviously though, until this has been addressed – steer clear of the image.





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