Why can't my Android phone open?

Android apps crash? How to solve the problem

Steffen Zellfelder

If Android apps do not want to start, crash or get stuck, the solution to the problem is often closer than you think. Even without tough troubleshooting, you can eliminate many jams on your own - we will show you how.

EnlargeWhen apps go on strike, there are several possible solutions you can take to fix the problem.
© ImYanis / Shutterstock.com

With the variety of Android devices, apps, updates and versions, it's actually no wonder that the software of mobile devices sometimes stumbles. If important apps no longer open, become sluggish, freeze or the message "App has been closed" appears, then good advice is not expensive: With these tips and tricks you can get unwilling applications back into shape.

Restart the Android device

Always banal - but always effective: If apps cause problems (or if the Android device behaves strangely in general), a simple restart can work wonders: the freshly loaded operating system can redistribute resources and the installed apps are the same forced to restart. Please do not rush: The best thing to do is to switch the device off completely for 30 seconds.

Install updates

If apps no longer run smoothly, this can go back to an outdated Android version, but also to an outdated application. The solution: Depending on the device, you will find entries such as “System Update” or “Software Update” in the system settings, so that you can bring the operating system up to date within minutes. Make sure that the battery is sufficiently charged, because system updates should never be violently interrupted. Updating the app concerned can also restore smooth operation: You can find updates on the app's homepage in the Play Store or in the Play Store app under "My apps and games".

Force app stop and clear the cache

If apps continue to cause problems despite restarting and updating the software, simply pull the plug. To do this, select the relevant application under “Settings / Apps” and tap on “Force stop”. You can then dispose of the application's cache data under the “Storage” entry. If that doesn't work, the “Delete data” command can also eliminate the problem - sometimes created data records such as settings, accounts or files created with the app also disappear. Particularly data-intensive apps such as the Play Store and Messenger, browser or Instagram are happy to locate your problems here.

Reinstall the affected app

If your application still refuses to work properly, you can try a new installation. So first remove the app from the device, then download it again from the Play Store and install it. Unfortunately, of course, this does not work with those apps that manufacturers firmly anchor on the Android device at the factory. In order to eliminate such permanent guests (and then to reinstall them) a "root" is required. Otherwise, all you can do is try to remove the updates for these apps and use them to restore the factory version. To do this, select the "Apps" field in the system settings, then you have to tap the relevant application. You can now select "Uninstall updates" using the three-point menu at the top right.

Old WebView version as a source of error

If you are still using an outdated version of the WebView system app, this can also hinder smooth operation on the Android device. The system tool is actually used by other apps to display web content. In the penultimate version, however, serious errors had crept in. Google quickly made improvements, the problems have been eliminated in the current version (89.0.4389.105). Background information and detailed instructions on how to update WebView can be found in this article.

Get help from the developer

If you are still in a clinch with your app despite all the efforts, you can ask the developer for advice. This is especially worthwhile if the problems only show up with a selected application. You don't have to be shy: Firstly, app developers are responsible for ensuring that their apps work properly, and secondly, contacting them is very easy and usually desirable - after all, you sometimes provide the providers with important information. Simply call up the app in the Play Store, under “Contact details of the developer” you can reach the provider.

If you have general problems with apps, if updates don't load or if one of the many Google apps causes problems, you can also request support directly from Google. You can find the corresponding contact form here.

Check SD card

It doesn't happen often, but a faulty SD card can also stand in the way of the app running smoothly. Problems can arise if apps are installed on a damaged SD card or if they make use of the storage space there. You can easily check whether the source of the error is the external memory card: Simply remove the SD card (please switch off the device beforehand) and then restart the app.

Reset to factory settings

As a last resort, you can now do a factory reset, but that has its price: All unsecured personal data such as photos, chats or files will be lost. You should therefore have exhausted all other methods beforehand, because this step is a bit more complex - especially if you want to back up your data in advance. After the factory reset, you can then reinstall the problem app. Instructions for a safe reset can be found here.

The recovery mode as the last ace up your sleeve

If an app is still on strike, Android users have one last ace up their sleeve: the recovery or maintenance mode. This is a separate mini operating system on its own, secure partition. In an English-language, purely text-based menu, you can delete cache data from apps and the operating system, install updates or perform a factory reset. Warning: Incorrect handling can cause serious damage to the Android device in recovery mode.

Not all devices currently have a maintenance mode, but most major manufacturers have it on board. This guide tells you how to start recovery mode and what you can do with it.