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Android 12’s theming system can crash games while you’re playing

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If you use automatically changing wallpapers, that is


Android 12’s wallpaper-based themes, dubbed Material You, are plain beautiful to look at and give every Pixel owner the most personalized theme they could imagine. However, the automatic theming engine also creates some unprecedented problems, as changing your wallpaper will automatically restart your apps’ activities, as it’s possible that they need to change colors. As noted by XDA, that behavior can lead to drastic problems when you combine automatically changing wallpapers and gaming sessions.

An entry in the Google Issue Tracker describes how games like Pokémon Go or Wild Rift crash after changing the wallpaper, but it’s likely that significantly more titles are affected, with XDA reporting that the issue arises for Genshin Impact, Call of Duty: Mobile, PUBG Mobile, and Minecraft, too. The crashes apparently also occur when you exit games, change your home screen wallpaper, and then want to continue your session, though those who use apps that periodically switch out their wallpapers automatically will probably run into the issue more often than others.

In the Google Issue Tracker, a user explains that changing wallpapers on Android 12 results in a configuration change that forces app activities to be restarted. This is meant to ensure that apps that hook into the wallpaper’s Material You theme will show up in their new colors right from the get-go. By default, this configuration change affects all apps, though, even those that will probably never use Material You colors, such as games. Usually, game developers already opt out of configuration changes not affecting their projects, like dark mode, screen rotation, and locale changes, but it looks like developers need to jump through some extra hoops to opt out of the wallpaper configuration changes. Those of us with automatically changing wallpapers will either have to change the rhythm to a super-long interval or plainly opt for a single wallpaper until most game studios are aware of this problem.

Let’s hope that Google provides an easier fix with a system update, as gamers shouldn’t have to rely on individual studios to fix the theming issues introduced with Android 12, even if most people will probably not even run into them.

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Ken Saunders

Freelancer, Gadget collector, Biohacker

Ken Saunders is a freelance writer, gadget collector and Biohacker. Kens’ professional background is in Information Technology as well as Health and Wellness. His experience has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys researching and writing articles on the topics of Technology, Food, and all things Freelancing. His articles have appeared in many online sites, including, Andrew Christian, and can learn more about his services at

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