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Android 12 wallpapers will crash apps and games

It’s finally rolling out to all Pixel phones, but even with this “stable” release, Android 12 looks relatively unfinished. An interesting issue that was incorporated into the final version of Android 12 sees apps and games forcibly stop, almost as if they crash, when you change your wallpaper.

This problem, detailed by CommuneWare and noted on Google’s issue tracker, sees apps and games force shutdown and restart when your wallpaper is changed. This is due to Android 12’s new Dynamic Color feature which samples your wallpaper to change the system accent color, which apps can connect to.

However, apparently to avoid accent color change issues, Google decided to force Android 12 to restart apps, making them appear as if they had crashed in the background when the wallpaper was changed. It’s similar to the behavior we see when Android switches from dark theme to light theme and vice versa.

Google noted the change in AOSP stating:

Activities will be scheduled for restart through the normal lifecycle. This is similar to a configuration change, but since the changes to ApplicationInfo are too low, we do not allow applications to unsubscribe.

The biggest issue with this change seems to be that apps can’t turn off force restart, like they can with the dark / light switch. This means that some apps, mostly games, might experience issues as a result. People from XDA stated that most of the games they tried would “crash” if the wallpaper was changed in the background.

Changing your wallpaper while actively playing a game or using another app seems like an unlikely scenario, but it could be a problem with wallpaper apps that automatically swap the wallpaper. Even Google’s default Wallpapers app has this option, and we could certainly see that it’s a source of frustration.

As it stands, it doesn’t appear that Google intends to change this behavior.

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