Photo: Mr.Mikla (Shutterstock)
Smartphones these days are powerful. Some can take 8K video, while others rival the speed and performance of desktop computers. However, all that advanced computational power is no match for the formidable force of…a single YouTube video—at least on the Google Pixel.
The video in question is a 4K HDR clip from Ridley Scott’s Alien. (I didn’t know smartphones could get scared, but, hey, it’s a stressful scene.) Simply pulling up the video can crash your Pixel, causing it to reboot and return to the home screen. Redditor OGPixel5 appears to be the first to highlight the issue, taking to r/GooglePixel on Saturday to ask if anyone else had the same problem. Turns out, quite a few did, while others, understandably, avoided testing the clip on their own Pixels.
9to5Google tested the video on their Pixel 7 Pro, and saw similar results. At most, they could pull up the video if it wasn’t playing, but as soon as they hit the Play button, the phone would crash. In practice, that means tapping the video file, which typically launches the video straight away, crashes the device instantly.
Based on the original Reddit thread, it seems the issue affects a range of Pixel devices. While the original poster’s device was a Pixel 7 Pro, commenters said the video crashed Pixel 7s, Pixel 6s, and Pixel 6as. In addition, some complained of losing access to cellular connectivity for minutes after the crash.
One user on the original Reddit thread theorized the issue may be related to the wallpaper that was killing Android phones a couple of years back. As Mrwhosetheboss points out in his video on the subject, the wallpaper was using a different, wider color profile than Android uses (ProPhoto RGB vs. SRGB). That alone isn’t a problem, as Android simply converts from one profile to another. However, there was one pixel in the wallpaper whose color values were too much for Android to handle, crashing the whole system.
It’s possible there’s something similar happening in this Alien clip. Perhaps one frame (or even one pixel) of this specific HDR video short-circuits Android’s color processing. If so, I imagine Google will issue a software update to correct for the issue.
Until then, steer clear of clips from Alien on your Pixel, and maybe the horror genre altogether.