Owners of Google Pixel smartphones found that playing a specific YouTube clip of the movie “Alien” in 4K HDR made their smartphones crash. This isn’t the first time a photo or video has caused Android smartphones to crash.
Back in 2020, setting a specific photo as a smartphone’s wallpaper would instantly crash select Android smartphones. While the bug was more prominent on Samsung smartphones, it was also found on some Pixel phones and other Android devices.
In that circumstance, the issue wasn’t limited to just one restart — setting the photo as wallpaper would cause affected smartphones to endlessly boot loop.
The bug, first spotted by Android Authority, was documented by Pixel users in a Reddit thread on Feb. 25. The original Redditor, u/OGPixel5, first explained that watching this YouTube clip of Alien would instantly crash their device.
The real reason the YouTube clip crashes Pixel phones is unknown, but many speculate it may be due to how the phones process the rich colors of High Dynamic Range (HDR) formatting.
Jokesters are already sending the video to people as a mischievous prank, with many in the YouTube comments joking that the video looks great on their Pixel phones.
The bug now seems to be fixed, as confirmed by the original Reddit poster. Screen Rant played the video on a Pixel 7 Pro on Feb. 28 and did not experience any crashes. To further push the device, our Pixel 7 Pro tried playing the video in full 4K resolution with HDR on. Still, Screen Rant’s Pixel 7 Pro did not crash at any point while watching the Alien clip in the YouTube app.
Google told 9to5Google that the issue would be addressed in the upcoming March update for Pixel smartphones, but didn’t share any additional information about the bug.