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Photo man uploaded to internet ended up breaking people's Android phones worldwide

Photo man uploaded to internet ended up breaking people's Android phones worldwide

The image crashed Samsung and Google Pixel phones around the world

A photographer's seemingly simple picture of Glacier National Park in Montana has caused havoc with Android phones around the world.

The image, snapped by scientist and amateur photographer Gaurav Agrawal, was taken in August 2019 and later uploaded to photo-sharing site, Flickr. This allowed people around the world to view and download it for their own use.

Yet when Android phone users - including those with Samsung and Google Pixel phones - came to download it, that's when they ran into issues.

Google and Samsung phones were amongst those affected.

According to various users who tried to use the image as wallpaper found that it caused their phones to glitch. Many claimed that the handsets would start switching on and off, in turn meaning the phone needed a factory reset, and that their data would be wiped.

Speaking about his accidental phone wrecking image, Agrawal told the BBC: "I didn't do anything intentionally. I'm sad that people ended up having issues."

Agrawal was unaware of the glitch because he had never tried it for himself, as he uses IOS as he explained: "I didn't know the format would do this. I have an iPhone, and my wallpaper is always a photo of my wife."

The image that caused the issues for Android phones.

Reflecting on the sunset and dusk that inspired him to take the image, Agrawal added: "It was a magical evening.

"It was gloomy and cloudy, and we thought there wasn't going to be a great sunset. We were about to leave when things started to change."

Agrawal's Flickr post now has a warning which says: "Nothing is wrong this photo but I gathered that it was exported from LR in ProPhotoRGB format with is not compatible with Android phone for some reason."

Ken Munro and Dave Lodge from security firm Pen Test partners explained to the BBC why the glitch may have occurred: "As digital photographs have improved in quality, phones need to check what the image 'colour space' is to work out how to display it properly. It's how a phone knows how to display exactly the right shade of green, for example."

Android users found that handsets would start switching on and off or the phone needed a factory reset.

They added that there are 'different ways of defining the colour space' before adding: "It's also possible to deliberately create images that have more colour information than some devices can handle. What's happened here is that the way some phones deal with these cases has gone wrong.

"The phone crashes because it doesn't know how to deal with it correctly, and the software developers probably hadn't considered this might happen."

Featured Image Credit: Flickr/Gaurav Agrawal/fizkes