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Categories: CultureDrops
| On 4 months ago

Do NOT Download: The Mystery of the Cursed Phone Wallpaper

Take a look at this picturesque view of a forested terrain with its quaint blue lake, a slightly overcast sky, and the warm orange rays peeking through mountains. It’s the view of an ideal holiday we have missed greatly now as the entire world goes on lockdown.

But don’t be deceived. Many Samsung phones have fallen prey to this scenic view and devices have crashed once it is set as a wallpaper.

The raiser of the case, who goes by the identity of Ice universe (@UniverseIce) on Twitter, issued a stern warning on his Twitter account cautioning netizens against downloading this picture and using it as wallpaper as it caused his Samsung mobile phone to crash.

Subsequently, he juxtaposed both pictures—pre and post upload on Twitter—and there were visible colour differences. He suspected that the reason for the malfunction of his device is due to the “colour gamut”.

For the uninitiated, colour gamut is the entire range of colour palette which can be achieved by an imaging system. If the colour is out of the colour model, it is said to be out of the gamut.

This intriguing wallpaper—which has the power of bricking your device—has attracted curious netizens to experiment it on their gadgets.

User @vamsieexplores tried it on his device and encountered an error. He tried resetting in safe mode but it does not seem to work. Now, the poor phone is haunted by a recovery screen with a profound language that’s only meant for a programmer to debug.

Fellow curious victim 2, @HideikaYT has been trapped in a similar mess. He posted a video of his botheration on Twitter—a flickering phone while on a locked screen. Before his phone crashes, it will probably be overheated first by this perpetual beaming of the cursed wallpaper.

Unfortunately, this misfortune has befallen other Samsung users as well.

Apart from the victims, various spectators to the Tweet have shown their sympathy for the perplexed predicament of these inquisitive individuals.

However, there is also another group of people who experimented but remain unscathed.

The Apple user, @nyaaaaxp, displayed a screenshot of his unharmed phone in its full glory—no flickering and still operational.

It is functioning well on a Vivo 1611 too.

Also, the wallpaper worked fine on a Huawei EMUI 9.0 phone.

Another survivor of the experiment—a google user—attributed the saving grace of his phone to the line drawn that he intentionally drew across the image.

However, one of the tweets commented that the line triggered the photo editor to reprocess the image. This additional process helped to remove any harmful metadata and hence, protected the device from any impending harm.

To any layman like me, metadata is ‘data about data’—it can be found in any type of file which consists of information. In this case, it is found in this baffling wallpaper.

Other tech heroes explained that it was caused by a faulty colour profile in the original photo source. However, the reason it worked for some device, and not others lies in the in-built protective mechanism to extract the harmful information.

Other good Samaritans provided solutions to rectify the problem, such as deleting the wallpaper from the file manager. However, this is provided that the Bootloader and custom recovery is unlocked and installed.

So, remember this harmless image. You’ve been have informed and warned. Download at your risk here if you dare.


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