A "cursed" picture of an idyllic lake is creating havoc with smartphones that run Google's Android system.

The wallpaper image, which shows a pretty sunset on a lake surrounded by mountains and forest, has a hidden bug in the coding, which is causing phones to crash.

When the image is saved as a wallpaper, it activates the bug and bricks the device. The phone may appear to be working but it will keep crashing and display an error screen.

Samsung's Galaxy range and Google's own Pixel handset have been hardest hit by the bug but OnePlus and Nokia also reportedly been affected.

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The bug was highlighted on Twitter by a user calling themselves "Ice universe".

"WARNING! Never set this picture as wallpaper, especially for Samsung mobile phone users!

"It will cause your phone to crash! Don't try it! If someone sends you this picture, please ignore it," the tweet says.

The image appears to affect devices running Android 10 – the latest version of the OS.

According to a developer who spoke to tech site Android Authority, the bug arises because the Android system can't handle the colour space - how the system assigns colours to images - and sends the phone into an infinite loop of processing.

"The main issue right here is that SystemUI only handles sRGB images for the wallpaper and doesn't have any check against non-sRGB wallpapers," the site explained.

"This can lead to a particular crash in the ImageProcessHelper class, as a variable used to access an array goes over the array bounds."

Although it may be difficult to fix, there are a couple of potential solutions to fixing your phone.

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If your phone will boot into safe mode, you may have just enough time to set the wallpaper back to something normal and safe.

Or go into the bootloader and factory reset your phone.

Google has been made aware of the problem and may issue a firmware update to tackle it.

A new version of Android (Android 11) is in the pipeline for release this year that may address the problem.