How to: Fix a Misbehaving Android App

While Android apps should work on most devices straight from Google Play, sometimes, like any computer, an  app will misbehave. Either it “force closes” itself, fails to open correctly, or stutters because of some glitch. Some people get frustrated because of the minor miscues, but by following these procedures, you can save yourself some simple headaches, and maybe a bad review for the developer.

Step 1: Check for and install app updates

If you’re using Google Play or Amazon Appstore for Android to manage your applications, you should get notifications when the newest apps are available. If you’re smart, you’ve also clicked “Allow automatic updating” in on the app’s download screen in Google Play.

If you don’t have allow automatic updating checked, you’ll have to manually update your applications. To manually update apps in Google Play (Android 4.x): Open Google Play > click the down arrow in the upper right > Click any apps marked “update.” For non-ICS or Jelly Bean devices: Open Google Play > click Menu > My Apps > Click any apps marked “update”.

To enable application auto-updating system wide click Menu > Settings > check Auto-update apps.

Step 2: Restart

I know this is simple, frustrating, and, depending on your device, can take some time to boot back up. However, you can probably fix most “conflicts” between apps and OS with a simple restart of the device. To force restart your device, hold your power button down. Restarting your device is good practice anytime you install an app or updates, but especially when you install multiple apps at the same time. The same is true when you uninstall apps.

Note: to access the processes in steps 3-6 go to Menu > Settings > Apps > Downloaded

Step 3. Force stop

You might “force stop” an app from running. Occasionally an app will “get loopy” and try to run the same process over and over with the same dumb result. The problem for you is that you can’t do anything while the system tries to process the app’s commands. Clicking “Force stop” will tell the OS to kill the application.

Step 4: Clear cache

Clearing the system cache frees up reserved memory and space. Apps build up a cache to help them run faster and access information more quickly. The problem is, sometimes an app’s cache contains old or outdated processes and information. While the OS does a good job of trying to maintain real-time data, like any overworked and under-appreciated minion, the device can become forgetful.

Step 5: Uninstall updates (if available)

Sometimes the app just doesn’t want to play well with the Android OS. This usually occurs because of a design or coding error. If available, sometimes you can uninstall any updates to the app and wait for the developer to issue an update with “bug fixes.”

Step 6: Clear data

Use this function with caution, since clearing data equals total annihilation of your unsaved data (the good news: you get to start over conquering Angry Birds).

Step 7: Uninstall

When nothing else works, you might just get the app off your system. In my opinion, once a bad app, always a bad app (okay, not always). Uninstalling the app should clear up any bugs, or at least make you quickly forget about them: “out of sight, out of mind,” as they say.

Hopefully now you can go and troubleshoot some of your messy Android application issues.

Photo: Cyber Shack

6 Responses to How to: Fix a Misbehaving Android App

  1. “If you’re smart, you’ve also clicked “Allow automatic updating” in on the app’s download screen in Google Play”. I don’t agree with this. Why don’t you tell that to the folks who paid for an app, it gets automatically updated, as a result it stops working & the developer doesn’t respond to the customer? Or just search for “babbel” in google play store & read the revews for the latest versions of each app. Then come back here with that same “good” advice.

  2. When ever I open any app my android hanged any shows ”time service” and ”android system” and I stops their force and also uninstall them but again they are bothering me what to do please reply.

  3. am i all have done this steps but it is have some application come out and some “unfortunately stop or misbehave

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.