iPhone and iPad

iPhone and iOS Apps Keep Crashing? Try These Fixes

Tim Brookes 03-05-2016

There are many things that can go wrong to cause your iPhone to crash, and most of the time issues arise for no reason and with no explanation. Depending on the underlying cause, the fix could be a simple restart or something a little more complicated.


We’ve looked at some common iPhone, iPad, and iOS problems and included a few things you can do to try and resolve them. Remember that new issues crop up on a regular basis, and more widespread issues are best solved by updating your iPhone since Apple usually provides a fix.

My iPhone is Slow

Often one of the precursors to a crash, sluggish performance can often be fixed by clearing your iPhone’s memory. Killing apps won’t help here 10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren't True We're going to tackle 10 of the most prevalent smartphone myths today and see if we can't do our part in ending the misinformation surrounding today's smartphones. Read More — iOS automatically freezes background apps so they do not take up unnecessary memory or keep running in the background when you’re done with them. Killing iPhone apps via the app switcher is just one bad iOS habit you should break today 5 Bad iPhone Habits You Should Break Today Think you're a responsible smartphone user? Reckon you're saving battery by killing all those apps? Think again. Read More .

You can do this by switching your device on and off, but before you go that far you can try refreshing your memory by holding the power button until you see “Slide to power off” then holding the Home button for a few seconds. Your iPhone will return you to the home screen, and though your apps will still be in the app switcher in the order that you last used them, they will reload when you use them.

If your device is low on storage, you might find that creating some free space yields better performance. This is a good tactic for speeding up specific apps — for example, less photos and videos should mean a more responsive Photos app. Switching to iCloud Photo Library and storing your originals in the cloud 5 Things You Need To Know About iCloud Photo Library Here's what you need to know about iCloud Photo Library, how it works and what it will cost you. Read More  should help in this department. You can check on your current storage situation under Settings > General > Usage > Storage & iCloud Usage.



If you’re still running iOS 8, you should definitely consider upgrading to iOS 9 if your device supports it iOS 9.3 Has Arrived, Here's Why You Should Upgrade While mainly focusing on bug fixes and increased performance, iOS 9.3 introduces few new features which make updating all the more worthwhile. Read More . The update features a lot of behind-the-scenes upgrades that improved performance across the board, even on older devices. This isn’t always the case with OS upgrades — the jump from iOS 6 to 7 was particularly painful for iPhone 4 users, as an example.

If you do have a particularly old device, you should take your device’s age and hardware into consideration when faced with a slow and unresponsive OS. Apple provides good support for older devices, but iOS is built with newer models in mind.

My iPhone Crashed! Now What?

Occasionally iOS will become completely unresponsive — nothing you can do will bring it back, even hammering the home button or trying to power it down. In this case you can force the device to restart by holding the power and home buttons until you see the Apple logo appear on screen. Release and let your device restart as normal.



You probably won’t have to do this very often; iOS usually restarts itself when it runs into issues.

My iPhone Crashes Repeatedly

An iPhone that crashes repeatedly is a little trickier to diagnose, as the issue could be related to a more serious problem with iOS or the hardware within your device. Unfortunately it’s not possible to diagnose any such problems themselves using purpose built-tools, something Android users can do with a few purpose-built apps How To Check New & Used Devices For Problems Using Simple Tips & Software Are you thinking of purchasing a new or used smartphone or computer? While you absolutely must test used electronics, even brand new smartphones and computers can suffer from defects that you may not notice until... Read More . Apple limits their diagnostic tools to members of the Global Service Exchange platform, which allows companies to manage their own device repairs and services.

Just like a slow iPhone, killing apps won’t help and clearing space will probably only go so far. Updating iOS via Settings > General > Software Update is the best way to resolve known issues, and may yield substantial stability improvements depending on how behind you are in terms of updates.



If you’re up to date on iOS, your next port of call should be backing up and restoring your device from within iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC. Connect your device to your computer using a Lightning cable, select it within iTunes, and then on the Summary tab, click Back Up Now to create a local backup. You may be given the option to transfer purchases, which will make local copies of your apps too (a good idea).

Once you have a backup, pick the Restore option on the Summary tab — you’ll also need to disable Find my iPhone under Settings > iCloud before iTunes will let you reinstall iOS.

If you’re still having issues (one or two crashes every day without fail) then consider taking your device to Apple for repair, particularly if you’re still under warranty or AppleCare. Even if your device isn’t under warranty, you should be able to make a free Genius Bar appointment and have Apple run diagnostics on your device to ascertain whether or not the hardware is to blame. You’ll only get charged if you agree to repairs and surrender your device.


A Third-Party App Keeps Crashing

Before shooting the developer an angry email, there are a few things you can do to resolve app crashes on your side. If an app becomes completely unresponsive, then your best bet is to kill it using the app switcher: double click the home button, scroll to the app in question and flick up towards the top of the screen until the app disappears completely. You can now try restarting it again.

Occasionally apps will crash immediately upon opening, and in this case killing the app is unlikely to resolve the issue. You can try putting your device into Airplane Mode (swipe up to reveal Control Center, then hit the airplane icon), then launching the app to see if the issue is limited to connectivity, web content, or a certain part of the app. Just turn Airplane Mode off to reconnect.


Though this might not solve the issue entirely, I recently encountered an issue on my partner’s iPhone with the iOS Reddit app Alien Blue (which was recently removed from the App Store with the release of the official Reddit-branded client). An advert on the front page was causing the app to repeatedly crash upon opening, but enabling Airplane Mode allowed her to navigate to another part of the app (a specific subreddit, for example), re-enable network access, and continue to browse.

Repeated app crashes may also be resolved upon restarting your device, so give that a go too. You should also probably check for updates via the Updates tab within the App Store app — you might also want to enable automatic updates if you haven’t already done so via Settings > iTunes & App Stores.


As a last resort you can try reinstalling the offending app. Keep in mind that by deleting an app, you will also delete any local data that the app has stored on your device, unless it’s synced to some sort of cloud device (apps like Evernote will be fine, but deleting a Shazam install where you haven’t signed up for an account will reset your tags). If you can’t find the app via the App Store (because it’s been removed) then head to Updates > Purchased and find the app there instead.

Safari Keeps Crashing

Apple’s own browser has recently come under fire for a number of issues, from crashes when accessing the address bar to seemingly random restarts. Apple is pretty good at fixing these issues via iOS updates, but websites like CrashSafari.com have turned breaking the browser into somewhat of a sport.

A past issue was caused by auto-suggestions, which you can disable under Settings > Safari > Safari Suggestions — but if this doesn’t fix your issue, you’re likely running an outdated version of iOS and should update your device via Settings > General > Software Update.


Another tip to resolve Safari frequently crashing is to clear your cache under Settings > Safari > Clear History, which is handy if you’re stuck on a website that’s repeatedly making your browser crash, and restarting Safari only loads the same web page again. Don’t forget the old “Airplane Mode trick” to disable connectivity, which will also allow you to purge any problematic tabs.

If you can’t solve the issue by clearing the cache or updating iOS, you might want to consider switching to a different browser, What's the Best Browser for iPhone? 7 Apps Compared Safari is a fine browser for iPhones, but it's not the only option. Check out the best iOS browsers for something better. Read More  but keep in mind that web browsers on iOS all use the WebKit rendering engine in a Safari wrapper, so they’re likely prone to the same issues. Some websites may also have memory demands that your device cannot meet, causing a crash — so consider the age of your device also.

Another Core iOS App is Crashing

If you’ve tried killing the app, restarting your device, and you’re already running the latest version of iOS, you might have to restore your device from within iTunes — you can find details on how to do this under the “My Phone Crashes Repeatedly” section of this article above.

I have used this method in the past to resolve an issue I encountered with the Photos app, possibly as far back as iOS 5 or 6. Launching the app resulted in repeated crashes, and nothing I could do would resolve it. After backing up and restoring my device in iTunes, the app stopped crashing entirely.

Can’t Fix It?

If you’re encountering a problem with a third-party app and you’ve tried everything you can, it’s probably worth reaching out to the developer. Be sure to include your device information (iPhone, iPad, and so on), including age. While email works well for this, many developers (and individual apps) have dedicated social media accounts or subreddits where you may find others who have encountered the same issue.

Keep in mind that sometimes crashes go beyond what an app developer can account for. You can’t blame Tumblr developers if you’re following lots of artsy accounts that post nothing but 10MB GIFs and your iPhone 5 keeps crashing — in such cases, your own device’s age may be the main culprit.

For iOS issues, you’ll likely be left waiting for an update from Apple, but you can try reaching out for support too Dodgy MacBooks & Scratched iPhones: Is Apple King of Customer Support? Misplaced brand loyalty – or brand disloyalty as it sometimes manifests itself – is a game I gave up on long ago. Speaking from experience, buying or ignoring a certain company’s products “just because” without... Read More . You might want to head to Apple’s Support Communities and discuss the issue with other users.

What iOS issues have you encountered recently? We’ll try our best to help you out in the comments below.

Image Credit: man shouting on smartphone by Dean Drobot via Shutterstock

Related topics: iOS, iPad, iPhone, Troubleshooting.

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  1. Shona
    November 18, 2016 at 6:49 am

    My iPhone photos keep crashing for 6s plus..ios 10.1.1

    When i try to tag people in photos in photo itself according to new features it crash.

    But it doesn't happen with my 5s

    So plz help i have almost tried everything but can't resolve the problem

  2. Keshan
    August 2, 2016 at 11:26 am

    my iphone cell phone app wont stop crashing. i tried restarting it but its not fixing. i cant really delete the app because its a factory app so i really need help right now. really need to make phone calls

  3. johnnyquest
    May 15, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    remember how easy it was to delete photos from an iphone? import all through preview, then delete all and boom, your phone had free space. now you have to delete all photos and videos from your phone; it is not possible to do it in one step from your computer..and then you have to delete the same photos and videos a second time. this process can take 45minutes. 45 frustrating minutes if you had wiped out your phone to take a photo and it told there wasn't enough memory to take a photo.
    my current problem is the photos app keeps crashing when i try to delete the recently deleted photos & videos. it crashes every time. i've restarted the app and the iphone 6s plus several times over several days and now i have a phone that can't take pictures. today, i get the message "storage almost full. you can manage your storage in settings," so i can't even my phone now because i can't delete photos. is this some sort of catch 22, where my iphone doesn't have enough memory to delete photos?

    • johnnyquest
      May 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      iphone 6s plus is running current ios 9.3.1

      • Tim Brookes
        May 19, 2016 at 5:12 am

        Hi Johnny,

        Doesn't sound like normal behaviour at al. Do you not get the option to "delete from phone" when you import images? Have you tried updating OS X recently to resolve the crashing?

        Also as you have such a recent device, I'm sure Apple would be able to resolve your issue if you can make it to an Apple Store. You'll need to make a Genius Bar appointment via their website, but that guarantees you an appointment at a time you can make. If there really is an issue with your iPhone (though personally I doubt it) then Apple will replace it considering the model isn't even a year old, and thus still has the obligatory 1 or 2 year warranty required by law.

        Apologies if I have misunderstood your issue, but I don't recall experiencing such behaviour. Personally I keep my photos on my iPhone (I have about 5 years' worth now) but I manually delete videos (using the "Videos" album) after importing as they take up so much space.

  4. Bob
    May 9, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I think (in part) it's because Apple regard themselves as a purveyor of a superior customer experience and premium product.

    The downside of this is that when I visited their store yesterday it was like a cattle market (so many customers.)

    I called tech support on Saturday and had an appointment with a "genius" for Sunday.

    Once there I met with Ethan who replaced the phone pretty much unquestioned.

    Does that policy work?

    Well... I also left the store an almost $1,000 bill for 2 Apple watches, so you tell me?

    Yes, I might have probably bought bought the watches any way (but maybe not 2 and not together) but the way Apple dealt with my issue gave me the confidence to make the outlay.

    • Tim Brookes
      May 19, 2016 at 5:07 am

      Yeah I have to be honest I've had nothing but good customer service from Apple, even for seemingly minor issues. They charge a premium, but they provide excellent support as a result.

      Plus AppleCare is the only after-market extended warranty I've ever bought. They replaced the logic board, trackpad and battery on a nearly 3-year old MacBook (it was just due for AppleCare expiry) so I'd definitely buy it again in the future. I'm not sure it's such a great deal if you don't have a relatively local Apple Store on account of having to mail your items away, but I'd still recommend it as those repairs would have cost me over AU$1000 (and I paid AU$300ish for the warranty).

  5. Bob
    May 7, 2016 at 12:51 am

    The good news is in the States, Apple seems to replace any Apple device no matter what the age is with two proviso's.

    That it is faulty and that the fault is not misuse.

    That it is a current device

    • Tim Brookes
      May 9, 2016 at 7:35 am

      Would that be because most current devices are less than a year old? I've not heard many accounts of this happening outside of AppleCare servicing.

      Here in Australia I got a 20 month-old iPhone 5 replaced once because the battery was faulty and the device refused to charge properly. I was pretty grateful for the "mandatory 2 year warranty on electronic devices" law at that point.

  6. Bob
    May 4, 2016 at 10:36 am

    I said above that it's a 6+ and my thought is that it is not the case.

    The phone has been in the same case for 18 months and not frozen. More likely it is the last IOS update causing the issue by raising the internal temperature of the phone. Maybe it's causing the processor to work harder, I don't know.

    • Tim Brookes
      May 5, 2016 at 4:14 am

      Ah sorry Bob, I don't know how I missed that. Depending on where you are in the world, you may have a two year warranty on that iPhone. That's certainly the case in the EU and here in Australia, though I think the US still only has a year by law.

      Do you have AppleCare? Might be worth getting it looked at either way.

  7. Bob
    May 4, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Have had issues with my 6+ freezing for up to a minute. Nothing worse than having a text come in you can't reply to or a call you can't answer (although my bt headset will.) I suspect it's an overheat problem caused my the last update.

    Phone is in an Otterbox case and doesn't seem to freeze out of the case, however the phone has been in that case since the day I got it.

    Only since the last IOS update has i been behaving this way.

    • Tim Brookes
      May 4, 2016 at 2:46 am

      Hmm that sounds annoying, and you're probably right that the case is causing the issue if it never happens otherwise. Which iPhone is it, out of interest? I find that my iPhone 6 only gets hot when I'm really thrashing it — using FiLMiC Pro for high quality video, extended use of music apps like Figure, intensive 3D games like GTA III — but never during regular use?