This cursed wallpaper managed to break my phone and I’m not alone, it seems like hundreds of people had crashed their entire phone in the last week just because of this wall[paper.
This photo I first saw on twitter. Ice Universe famous leaker, he basically made a post saying people are spreading this wallpaper don’t apply it, please don’t apply it but of course people did. I don’t think I’ve ever seen karma bite back faster.
The comment section is filled with two types of responses people who’ve applied it and got away with it on their phones and who seem to be using it as a way to prove they’ve picked a superior device and the other less fortunate group who’ve applied it and quickly realized they probably shouldn’t if.
They posted the videos of their devices basically going nuts after putting this cursed wallpaper. In a lot of cases they’ve had to wipe everything. Listen to the cat people, the cat never lies.
Three unusual things that happen in this cursed wallpaper:-
1:- Whether or not your device gets destroyed depends on who made it. For example Google and Samsung, they’re a sure victim to this cursed wallpaper. Definitely don’t try this cursed wallpaper on them.
2:- If you upload the photo to a social media site like facebook and download it again the colors will shift to less vibrant version and it’s safe to use.
3:- You can put this picture as a wallpaper but only by taking a screenshot of the image and setting that as wallpaper which is safe. On the face of it none of this makes sense. So what the fax is going on here?
Well I spend the last three days trying to find out. Okay my initial assumption was this is a malware. Someone has obviously designed this cursed wallpaper to conflict with the code of Android and start crashing phones. The resolution is exactly 1440 by 2560 that is the current standard android wallpaper resolution it has been made to apply as a wallpaper and add to that I’ve never in my life seen a cursed wallpaper that can so consistently kill phones.
To find out if something was malicious or not was to find out where it came from so I did a reverse image search. Google Images has a clever little feature now that allows you to use an image to search for similar images and by doing this within two minutes I traced the cursed wallpaper back to its original source.
Turns out the wallpaper being circulated around was not the original cursed wallpaper. This is from hdqwalls.com and if you check the data of the image, you can see it is just a photo taken from a Nikon D850 camera, surely that can’t be the problem this is just someone who’s taken their camera to a national park maybe they’ve camped overnight to get this stunning shot of a sunrise that’s not gonna break your phone.
Plus a lot of people online was saying that the reason the cursed wallpaper was crashing phones was because it was encoded in a color profile called Google’s skier but i now managed to get hold of the original photo and I could see that this wasn’t a Google skier image I applied it to my Galaxy A 51.
Big mistake! Gone! The Galaxy A 51 turned into a dead phone. I couldn’t get past my lock screen and even safe mode wouldn’t let me recover it. All data on that phone that I didn’t backup is gone and I won’t lie to you this felt like that part in a detective movie where the detective gets too involved in a case and the criminal isn’t happy about it so he starts taking away family members from me I’ve lost my data trying to fight for this cause.
I thought it would be okay. I thought this is just a photo this can’t be the problem but I was wrong and now I’m little bummed. But anyways we can see that this crashing wasn’t caused by some malicious third party who tampered with the image afterwards like I’d initially suspected. It’s the original photo that’s enough to break your phone so that just leaves the question how? And who made this cursed wallpaper?
Okay let’s talk about color for a minute. Take a look at this diagram this represents all the colors that us humans can see this triangle inside of it that’s the sRGB color space it’s a subset it’s a small section of the full range of color and more importantly for this case it’s the only set of colors that Android really understands.
So yes most Android phones historically they haven’t been able to display the full range of color but they’re limited like this for the sake of consistency sRGB is what almost every device is calibrated to digital cameras printers the Internet so by having an operating system based on it you can ensure that let’s say I post something on Instagram for example then when you see that post on the other end it can make sure that you’re seeing it in the way that I intended it or that when I see a photo online and I print it out it should look pretty similar to the preview I saw on screen.
But there are many different color spaces you’ve got Adobe RGB as an example which has a wider range of color or if you wanted to go a bit crazy with things prophoto RGB which is this huge triangle here and this all seems really complicated but all it means for this is that if I convert an image from srgb to Adobe RGB it’s going to effectively stretch the color space, the color that was previously here gets mapped to here.
so this is a random photo – it took a few days ago in srgb and moving it to the wider Adobe RGB it just gets more vibrant and the same will happen again if we move from Adobe to prophoto RGB because these points are moving to these points. so what I got to do with the sunrise of nightmares well it turns out prophoto RGB is the colour space that this photo is encoded in and you can see the appeal of doing this now that I know how it was encoded I can actually flick it back to standard srgb and it becomes this.
this is the true original photo and all of a sudden it doesn’t look so hot so whoever took the photo probably just thought oh I really like the colors in prophoto RGB mode I’ll just export it that way and this explains what I mentioned earlier about Weibo. Weibo doesn’t support this ultra white color space so if you upload a profile encoded image to Weibo the reason it changes is because it’s actually being converted back to srgb.
So okay we’ve established that something about this color space is causing a problem but it’s not as simple as that because Android can actually handle Profoto even though Android support srgb only it is programmed to convert images from other color spaces back to srgb just so we can have that level of consistency trust me I wish this was simpler too. It seems like this conversion is actually where the problem is.
Where Android is trying to turn this Profoto into an sRGB image that’s the bottleneck and you won’t believe this the reason these devices are crashing, all comes down to one pixel this one right here. Google’s color engine can’t for the life of it convert this one pixel to srgb specifically because of the luminance of it luminance is basically brightness but just adjust it for the way that we humans actually see things because you might know this humans see green tones far better than we see red tones and we see Red’s better than we see blues.
So the luminance of a pixel on Android is calculated by this formula it gives green the most weight then red and then blue.To put it another way you need a lot of blue light to give the same luminance as a little bit of green light anyway the max value of red green or blue individually is 255 so the way this code is put together you shouldn’t be able to get an overall combined value past 255 because all the formulas really doing is taking a weighted average but for this one particular pixel it just so happens that the red green and the blue values are all incredibly high 255. 255 and 243.
So plugging it into the formula we get red as 54.213 green has 180 2.376 and blue is 17.5446 if you add all these up you got around 254 which is still under 255 so what’s the problem it turns out Google uses a type of rounding that basically rounds each one of these numbers up so those RGB values actually end up as 55 plus 183 plus 18 which gives 256 which is over the theoretical maximum of 255.
Error, 1 number in one pixel is enough to send your device into this spiral of doom. In a normal situation when Android encounters a problem like this it’ll try to close the process but by setting it as your wallpaper Android can’t just close it. You’re creating a permanent loop of errors as it keeps trying to fix itself and and this also explains why screenshots of the image are safe there’s a bit of a misconception with screenshots when you screenshot a photo your Android phone is not making a copy of the photo it’s creating a new image that by default is going to be an sRGB shot because it’s Android.
So that conversion that’s causing all the crashes doesn’t need to occur if you’re wondering why only some devices are broken by this cursed wallpaper. It’s because they’re all phones that use Google’s default color engine which is the part that’s messing up the conversion as however you should worry about it not really. I mean obviously don’t apply this cursed wallpaper ever but the next Android 11 should be fixing this problem anyway it is a pretty easy one to solve you just need one line of code that says if this value is above 255 then make it 255.
The photos here were taken from Mrwhoistheboss and complete credit goes to him. Anyways if you enjoyed this so called cursed wallpaper thing, do give a look to my other posts as well. Thank you.
NOTE* THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL CURSED WALLPAPER IMAGE. I DIDN’T SHARED THE CURSED WALLPAPER JUST BECAUSE I DON’T WANT ANYONE TO GET FOCXED WITH THEIR PHONE IN THIS QUARANTINE. STAY SAFE STAY AT HOME