Samsung Phone Bug Secretly Shares Pics at Random

John Lister's picture

Samsung phone owners say they were shocked to discover photos from their phone were being sent to random contacts. An update to SMS text messaging appears to have caused the bug.

One user says the entire contents of his photo gallery was sent to his girlfriend's phone via text message. His own phone had no record of the messages being sent and the first he heard of it was when his girlfriend asked him what was happening.

Other users report similar issues, with no obvious pattern as to who received the images other than being in their contacts list. Reports suggest the problem is with the default Message app on the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ and Note 8 handsets.

Text Message Update at Fault?

While there's no clear cause of the problem, it seems those who've experienced it had recently had an automatic update to the app. The update is to bring in Rich Communication Services (RCS), a replacement for the more common Short Message Service (SMS) system for text messages. (Source:

RCS is intended to be a more sophisticated service that includes features such as being able to send someone a photo or other media file while you are talking to them on the phone, without the need to hang up first. Other features include being able to tell when someone has received and read a message and even when they are typing a reply. The idea is to make RCS much more like chat and message apps that work over an Internet connection.

Samsung says "We are aware of the reports regarding this matter and our technical teams are looking into it. Concerned customers are encouraged to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG."

Disabling Access May Be Best

One option for users worried about their images being shared by this bug is to change the app settings. To do this you'll need to go to the phone's settings menu, then the app section, then select Samsung SMS.

From here, choose the permissions section and disable the setting giving access to the phone's storage. This will mean you can't send pictures via SMS text messages, but also should mean the phone can't do it without you knowing. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Have you or anyone you known been affected by this? How serious would the worst case scenario be with a picture on your phone being sent to a random contact? Should Samsung directly contact all users who could be affected?

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