Woman taking selfie in bed

Samsung phones start sending random photos to random contacts

Image credit: Dreamstime

According to disgruntled users discussing their technical problems online, Samsung Messages has - among other bugs - been sending users' photographs to their contacts with alarming randomness.

With the rise of Snapchat and Instagram over the past years, sharing photographs has become one of the most enjoyable and popular activities to do on a smartphone. Users have been able to enjoy pictures of celebrities’ smoothie bowls and their friends’ pets around the clock, often bringing people closer together.

However, much of the appeal of these apps is in the posing, selection and editing of photos that are broadcast, allowing users careful control over their digital image. To some users’ dismay, however, this care taken to curate an online image could be counteracted, as some Samsung phones have sent random images to random contacts without their knowledge.

According to complaints on Reddit, and on official Samsung forums, a selection of Samsung smartphone models – including the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9 – have been sending photos to contacts using Samsung Messages, the company’s texting app.

One Reddit user described how their S9+ sent their entire photo gallery to their girlfriend in the middle of the night via text, leaving no record on the Samsung Messages app (although a record was left on the user’s T-Mobile log). Other users chimed in with similar stories and commented that this could lead to humiliating, traumatic and destructive scenarios, such as if intimate photos were shared with colleagues.

Meanwhile, other Samsung users have reported other issues with Samsung Messages, such as texts being sent at the wrong time, messages which have failed to send being displayed as successfully sent and scheduled messages appearing in the wrong threads.

User reports suggest that the problem may be caused by an unexpected interaction between Samsung Messages and recent RCS profile updates (which aim to enhance ageing SMS protocol by introducing new features found in instant messaging apps, such as read receipts) affecting certain network providers.

For the time being, Samsung owners can work around this issue by using alternative messaging apps, or by disabling Samsung Message’s permission to access storage.

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