scorecardWhy do my apps keep closing? How to troubleshoot malfunctioning apps on any mobile device
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Why do my apps keep closing? How to troubleshoot malfunctioning apps on any mobile device

Dave Johnson   

Why do my apps keep closing? How to troubleshoot malfunctioning apps on any mobile device
Tech5 min read
  • If an app keeps closing on your mobile device, there are several ways to troubleshoot the problem and prevent it from happening.
  • To make sure the app isn't buggy or incompatible with the latest version of the operating system, install the latest updates.
  • Restart the mobile device, and if the problem persists, you can reinstall the app, clear the cache, and free space on the phone or tablet.

Like any computer, your mobile device is susceptible to occasional software glitches, and that can result in apps on your phone or tablet crashing or closing unexpectedly. While there's no single way to fix that problem, there are a handful of potential solutions you can try.

How to troubleshoot when your apps keep closing

If an app crashes, restarting it will often solve your problem. But if you have an app that repeatedly crashes or closes without warning, restarting the app isn't going to solve the problem because it's likely to crash again. But don't worry; there's a good chance you can solve your problem with the troubleshooting steps below.

Keep in mind, though, there's always a possibility that you installed a buggy app that won't behave on your mobile device - at least not until it's updated by the developer.

Make sure the app is up to date

If you notice that a particular app crashes often, you should check to see if you are running the latest version. Often, older versions of an app aren't fully compatible with your phone or tablet's latest operating system, or might suffer from glitches that have been eliminated in the latest release.

On iOS, start the App Store and tap your account icon at the top-right corner. Then scroll down and see if the app in question is awaiting an update. If so, tap Update and wait for the update to complete.

If you have an Android device, start the Play Store and tap the account icon at the top right. Then tap Manage apps & devices, and tap Updates available. If you see the app, tap Update.

Quick tip: If the app is very old and hasn't been updated in a long time, it might have been abandoned by the developer. Consider ditching the app in favor of a newer, more current alternative.

Clear the app data for the problematic app

If the app is up to date but continues to misbehave, there might be some corrupt data in the app's cache. If you are using an Android phone or tablet, you can clear the cache with a few taps (but keep in mind that you will lose any data the app was storing on the device and you'll need to log in again as if you've never run the app before). The steps may vary a bit depending upon which version of Android you are running, but here's the general procedure:

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap Apps & Notifications.

3. Go to the list of apps (you might need to tap See all apps) and select the problematic app.

4. Tap Storage & cache.

5. Tap Clear storage and confirm you want to do this.

6. Start the app and log in, if needed.

If you're using an iPhone, there's no way to clear the cache without uninstalling the app, so go ahead and uninstall the app from your iPhone or iPad, and then reinstall it from the App Store and sign back in if needed.

Restart your mobile device

If you've exhausted your options with the app, it's possible the problem is with other software on your device. To test this possibility, restart your phone or tablet (turn it off and then back on again).

On an Android device, you can generally restart it by pressing and holding the Sleep button on the side until you see a shutdown menu, or pull down the control panel from the top of the screen and find a shutdown command in the control panel. The process to shut down an iPhone varies based on the model you have.

Uninstall and reinstall the app

One last option you can try before taking more drastic measures: It's possible there's something wrong with the installation of the problematic app. If you're already running the latest update, you might try to uninstall the app and reinstall it to get a "clean" version of the app.

If you followed the steps to clear the cache on an iPhone, you've already uninstalled and reinstalled the app, so there's nothing more to do here. But if you have an Android device, you can tap and drag the app to the top of the screen over Uninstall. After it's removed, reinstall it from the Play Store and try again.

Free up some storage space on your device

With the relatively generous storage space built into most modern phones and tablets, this probably won't be a consideration for many people. But if you are very low on space, some resource-intensive apps might misbehave when they don't have enough memory to function properly. The solution? Free up some storage space.

On the iPhone, you can see how much space is available in the Settings app and the clear space on your iOS device by deleting unused apps or data. On an Android device, the process is quite similar; you can free up space on Android by deleting unwanted apps, clearing app caches, deleting files in the Downloads folder, and more.

It's buggy - contact the developer

Still no luck? You've exhausted virtually all the most fruitful troubleshooting steps, so the reality might be that the app is buggy, fundamentally incompatible with your mobile OS, or conflicting with other apps. If you haven't been using the app for long, you should reach out to the developer to report the issue and see if you can get a refund.

Contact the developer from the app store. On an iOS device, start the App Store, find the app in question and scroll to the Ratings & Reviews section. Keep scrolling and you should see App Support to the right of Write a Review. That's where you should find a way to reach out to the developer.

On Android, open the Play Store and find your app. Look for the Developer contact link under the reviews - it should contain, at minimum, an email address to contact.

How to update apps on your Android device manually or automaticallyHow to download apps on an iPhone for free in the App Store, where you can browse the top free appsWhat is Google Play? The online store for Android devices, explainedHow to update iPhone apps on iOS 13 manually, or set them to update automatically when new versions are released