How to fix crashing apps on an iPhone or iPad

Apps crash on both Android and iOS devices. If an app crashes on your iPad or iPhone, this is how to fix that.

Is it an App or Device Crash?

You have to first determine if it was the app that crashed or the device. For an app crash the app may: close for no reason, become unresponsive but you can still open other apps, keep disappearing when you try to open it. While for device crash, it may become unresponsive, display a black screen or be stuck on the Apple logo, or become slow. If you can’t connect wireless headphones, send files via AirDrop or see AirPlay devices, a service of the OS has crashed.

Troubleshooting App Crashes

A lot can cause an app to crash and these issues arise from the code, unexpected input, and hardware limitations. Sometimes all you have to do to fix this is to reopen the app. If you’re one that shares analytics with developers you can send a crash report so they can keep the crash from happening again.

How to Kill an Unresponsive App

If an app is causing problems, you can kill it with app switcher. To do this,

  • On iPhone 8 or earlier (devices with Home button): Double-tap the Home button to see a list of recent apps.
  • iPhone X and later (devices without Home button): Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and then brush to the right or Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold till you see the list of recent apps.

Find the app having issues and swipe it up to remove or close it.

Then go and launch the app again. Doing this keeps the apps from opening faster than when they are minimized.

Check form Updates

If you upgrade your iOS version and the app is not upgraded to match the iOS upgrade, the old app can cause issues and some developers tend to abandon their apps.

To prevent this check for an update of the app. Open App Store, go to “Updates” tab and select “Update All” to install available updates.

If an app has not been updated for a while, it might mean the developers upload a new version as a new app. An instance is when Drafts 4 was renamed Drafts (Legacy Version) after Drafts 5. To see other apps by a developer, tap its name under app description in the App Store.

Reinstall Problem Apps

Some apps crash too often, to fix this, delete the app and then reinstall it. Deleting an app removes all local app data but if it depends on the cloud like Evernote, Google Drive, and Pages, there’s no problem. If the app requires a login, you must do so again when you reinstall it. To delete an app,

  • Tap and hold the app icon till it moves, then tap “X” next to the app and then “Delete” when you get the prompt.
  • Next, open the App Store, find the app and then reinstall.

Note that if the app is not in the App Store, you can’t download it again.

Check your App permissions

Privacy settings can also mess up your app. For example, if a map app can’t get your location, you must grant it access.

Go to Settings > Privacy and check categories like Camera, Microphone, or Location Services. Apps requiring your permission for service or information will be listed there.

Create some free space

If your storage space is full, your iOS may slow down and apps may malfunction especially for apps that need free space to work such as camera and audio recorders.

Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to see how much free space you have.

Contact the Developer or Get a Refund

If you downloaded an app recently and it doesn’t work, you can report to the developer or request for reimbursement. To contact the developer, find the app on the App Store, scroll down to “Ratings and Reviews” segment, and tap “App Support”. This takes you to the developer support website which will be mostly be full of FAQs but a contact information should be available also.

Describe your issue completely and add details of your device – model and iOS version (you can find it in Settings > About). “App Support” is only visible to users that download an app, if you don’t see it, be sure you’re using the same Apple ID that you used to purchase or download the app.

If you paid for an app and it doesn’t work, you are eligible for reimbursement.

Troubleshooting Device and iOS Crashes

Apple devices run on iOS and there are problems sometimes like random restarts, software glitches, and freezes which can be solved manually.

How to Restart Your iPhone

You can solve certain problems like a screen refusing to “sleep” by restarting your device. To do this,

  • On iPhone 8 and later: Press and hold Volume Down and Sleep/Wake till “Slide to Power Off” appears and then swipe the bar to turn the device off.
  • iPhone 7 and earlier: Press and hold Sleep/Wake button either on top for iPhone 5s or earlier or on the right side for iPhone 6 & 7 till “Slide to Power Off” appears and then swipe the bar to turn the device off.

When the device is off, restart it by holding the Sleep/Wake button till the Apple logo appears.

Recover an Unresponsive iPhone

If your phone is absolutely unresponsive or frozen, force reset it. To do this,

  • On iPhone 8 or later: Press and release Volume Up, press and release Volume Down, and then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.
  • On iPhone 7: Press and hold Volume Up and the Sleep/Wake button till the Apple logo appears.
  • On iPhone 6 or earlier: Press and hold the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons until the Apple logo appears.

iPhone 6 and earlier have physical home buttons, iPhone 7 has a virtual home button and iPhone 8 or later have no home buttons at all.

Reinstall iOS

If restarting does not do it, reinstall iOS, note that this will delete all data from your device. To do this,

  • Go to Settings, tap your name on the list. Then tap your iPhone from the list of devices at the bottom (it reads, “This iPhone”).
  • Tap “Find My iPhone”. uncheck “Find My iPhone” and type in your Apple ID password.
  • Next, launch iTunes (users of Windows can download it from Apple’s website) and connect your iPhone with a Lightning cable.
  • Then, click on the device icon in the top-right. (image below)
  • On the summary tab, click Restore iPhone, and then follow the prompts.

Suspect a Hardware Issue?

If you have tried all the above and that does not fix the issue or you think it is hardware-related, go to the nearest Apple Store or authorized service centre. If you iPhone is still under warranty, all repairs will be done for free. If however, your device is not under warranty, you will only pay for the work you want done.

You then decide if you want the device repaired or if you want it to be replaced if the cost of repairs is high. Apple usually offers trade-in credits to use for a new device.

Share Analytics to Improve Software

If you want to improve the software you use, go to Settings > Privacy > Analytics to review your recent analytics sharing policies. Analytics are usage stats gathered about your device, the software it’s running, and how you use it.

If you want, enable “Share iPhone and Watch Analytics” to share info with Apple directly. With that info, Apple can improve iOS. Enable “Share With App Developers” to share usage and crash reports with app developers to help them crush bugs.

Apple assures that none of your sensitive information is transmitted if you do any of the above, but if you’re not okay with that, disable it.

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