Tips & How-to

What to Do When iPhone App Quits Unexpectedly As Soon As You Launch It

March 7, 2010 — by Simon Ng8


Tips & How-to

What to Do When iPhone App Quits Unexpectedly As Soon As You Launch It

March 7, 2010 — by Simon Ng8

Have you ever experienced this situation while using iPhone?

You tap on an app icon to launch the application. It launches and then closes unexpectedly.

I believe it’s not a rare issue for iPhone users as Apple has officially published a support article about how you can deal with the issue.

First, why does the application close unexpectedly? According to Apple, your device is running too many memory-intensive tasks and has begun to run low on application memory. So, when you try to open up extra application, the device does not have sufficient memory to handle the app launch and thus closes the app consequently. As the article suggests, here are some situations that represnts your iPhone is running low on memory:

  • If you have many Safari web pages open on your iPhone or iPod touch, Safari may close and the iPhone or iPod touch will go back to the Home screen (where it shows all the application icons).
  • When listening to music or podcasts, watch video, etc. playback may stop and the device may return to the Home screen.
  • While using Safari or Maps and listening to music or podcasts, iPod audio playback may stop.
  • Applications purchased from the App Store quit immediately after you tap them.

When you come across the issue, you may try the following Apple’s recommendations to avoid the issue:

  1. Restart your iPhone – this recommendation is just like Microsoft. When you got a problem on your PC, reboot it! To restart your iPhone, press and hold Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until you see a red slider. Then slide the slider to shutdown your iPhone. Press and hold Sleep/Wake button to start it up again. Once booted up, try to launch the application again.
  2. Minimize the number of pages in Safari – For Safari, try not to open too many pages/browser windows as each browser window consumes extra memory.
  3. Use up-to-date iPhone OS – Make sure you’re using the latest version of iPhone OS. (but for iPhone jailbreaker, this option is not recommended until a solid jailbreaking solution is available)

Personally, I would like to add one more suggestion: Kill the unused applications. When you close an iPhone app, the device normally removes the app from memory. But for some built-in application (e.g. Safari), this may not be the case. Let’s say you launch Safari and browse some web pages. Then you go back to home screen. You may think iPhone closes Safari completely and free up the memory. But that’s wrong. The device actually keeps Safari in memory to speed up subsequent launch. So, how can you completely quit the Safari? There is a less-known feature to kill the app. You can further refer to the post about “How to Force Quit an Application for iPhone 3.0” about how to kill the application.

This technique is very useful and lets you quickly free up more memory for other applications.

What do you think about these tips? Do you have other tips to prevent the issue? As always, leave us comment and share with us.

Simon Ng

Founder, developer and chief blogger of

  • lilyrose

    thanks Simon. Very helpful! 🙂

  • davedalus

    I would add to this article:

    jailbreak users, kill safari via “Processes” in SBSettings and then use the “free up memory” command. This almost always frees up enough memory to run the app in question.

    non-jailbreak user, instead of the slide to reset (“soft reset”), do a “hard reset”. I have been informed that this clears the memory much more comprehensively as it completely restarts all processes. To do a “hard reset”, press and hold down the home and sleep buttons and hold them. Ignore the “slide to power off”, keep holding and it will eventually reset. You can then turn your phone back on in the normal way. It will takes a bit longer to boot than normal but when it does finally boot up, you have a fresh, completely clean boot.

  • Frances

    I use an app from the App Store called “Memory Sweep”. It lists all the processes that are running in the background. There are two buttons that you can select to either free up 15mb of memory or a maximum of 30mb of memory.

    • @Frances, thanks for your tip!

  • GStretton

    Right guys got this sussed. Different things have worked for different people but none of them worked for me. Heres my solution for those of you who are still stuck.

    1. Make sure all of your apps are synced with itunes
    2. Select ‘Deathorize Computer’ from the store menu, enter your password…** DONT SYNC NOW!!!
    3. Now select ‘Authorize computer’ from the store menu, enter your password and click the sync button (even if its grayed out you should still be able to click it)

    This worked for me, apparently when you update the iPhone firmware it screws with the DRM. By doing this (deauthorize, authorize, sync) it reauthorizes the phone.

    Spent the last 6 hours trying different solutions, restoring, resyncing, updating, rolling back and this took all of two minutes in the end. Just glad I didn’t lose 6 months of gym data by having to reinstall my GymBuddy App!!!!

    Hope this helps someone out there.

  • gopal

    thanks. Restarting my iphone solved the problem…..thanks a ton….

  • Bruno

    None of the solutions discussed above solved my problem. Anyone have different tips? Thanks.

  • Matt

    Just seems like a good way for Apple to get you to update your phone, making your most recent activity available somewhere deep in the interwebs. . but I’m just another conspiracy theorist 😛