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Android 12 will force restart apps and games if you change a wallpaper due to Material You coloring

By Roland Udvarlaki November 4, 2021, 9:30 am
Android 12 restarts due to material you dynamic color change

Android 12 brought a ton of visual changes and new features to the popular mobile platform. One of the biggest changes in the entire system is the introduction of Material You, which allows users to change accent colors, icons, and parts of applications to change color based on the wallpaper’s colors. The accent colors are generated from the wallpaper, which then returns some very similar pastel colors throughout the system and 3rd party applications. If you change your wallpaper while playing games, Android 12 will force restart games and applications due to Material You’s dynamic color change feature.

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An issue was recently posted on the Google Issue Tracker (via XDA-Developers). A user reported that while playing games such as Wild Rift or Pokémon Go, changing the wallpaper can crash the entire game and can even result in a penalty in some games. Once the wallpaper is changed on the home screen and the Material You color palette is updated throughout the user interface, all currently running applications need to restart, even those that don’t have the dynamic accent color theme implemented. 

Android 12

Out of curiosity, I’ve tested the issue on my Google Pixel 4 XL running the latest Android 12 software update, and Monument Valley didn’t crash, but it restarted each and every level when the wallpaper was changed. Asphalt 9 on the other hand required a complete restart of the game. It’s clear that the issue affects other devices running Android 12 as well, it doesn’t only apply to the latest Pixel 6 Series. Adam Conway, from XDA-Developers, tested Minecraft, PUBG Mobile, Genshin Impact, and Call of Duty: Mobile, all of which crashed on his Google Pixel 6 Pro.

Google added a commit note to the AOSP, stating the following:

“Activities will be scheduled for restart via the regular life-cycle. This is similar to a configuration change but since ApplicationInfo changes are too low-level we don’t permit apps to opt out.”

Applications do not seem to have an option to opt-out of the forced restart at the moment, even though it’s possible to do when changing dark/light mode on the device. It remains to be seen whether Google will change this behavior in the future.

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