There are few things worse than waiting for a game to finish downloading, starting it up and seeing your phone’s home screen. It’s even worse when this happens time and time again, with app, after app, after app. In order to understand why iOS games keep crashing, we need to, quickly, understand why apps crash in the first place.
Why do apps crash?
A crash or a program failure, typically occurs when a program tries to access a part of the memory that it’s not allowed to access or when the memory location doesn’t exist. Let’s say you are on a road trip to a friends house. Your GPS shows you to take the 4th roundabout exit. You pull on the steering wheel and count 1,2,3 and… You are back when you started. That split second of trying to figure out what’s happening? That is pretty similar to what a app experiences before a crash. Luckily, you know how to deal with such issues but for an app? No one programmed it to handle that, nor was it envisioned in its design.
To put it simply, apps crash when something they weren’t design to experience happens.
How to stop iOS apps from crashing?
It was simple to explain why iOS apps keep crashing, however, to stop them from crashing isn’t as simple. There is no one solution to fix this problem, however – there are steps you can take to prevent this.
Some steps are reasonable and easy to handle while others prove to be a bit more esoteric. Here are a few ways to make sure your best smartphone games don’t fail you when you want them to run:
Minimise the amount of apps running at the same time
Earlier we mentioned that apps can crash when they try to access a memory they don’t have access too. In software development, memory represents a location on your device where data is stored. When multiple programs are running on a device they all tend to have access to the same amount of general memory. For example, if your iPhone has 4GB of RAM, those 4GB of RAM are fixed, regardless of how many apps and games you are running.
Some games and apps are really memory hungry and can access multiple gigabytes of data. If an app tries to use more memory than it has available, well – it can’t. Just as with the roundabout analogy from earlier, the app will enter a state of not knowing what to do and keep searching for the 4th exit (or in this case, memory location). When it can’t find it, the app crashes.
An easy way to avoid this issue is to reduce the amount of apps open at the same time. Even though modern smartphones are a 1000 times more powerful than old computers – a memory limit is still a memory limit. So next time your iOS game keeps crashing, close other apps from memory and try launching it again.
Reboot your phone in order to stop iOS games from crashing
Dovetailing on the previous answer, rebooting your phone automatically closes and removes running applications from your iPhone or iPad’s memory. You can turn off your iPhone or iPad by holding the power button pressed until a slider appears on the screen. Put your finger on the slider and drag it to the opposite side. Wait a few seconds for the phone to turn off and then hold the power button until the Apple logo appears.
Once the phone opens up the homescreen – you are in the clear. Try launching the misbehaving app again to see if it runs – it should have more memory available now.
Update your iPhone or iPad in order to stop iOS games from crashing
Remember the previous memory discussion? Apps tend to crash if they access memory locations not available for them. What if an app is designed for a different “memory layout” than your current one? A good way to understand this is installing a new game just released on an iPhone that’s 7 years old. The operating system for the iPhone from 7 years ago might be completely different than the current one. Developers tend to create apps and games that target the newest versions of your iPhone or iPad operating system. This means your game might try to access things that didn’t exist back when your current operating system was king. In order to avoid issues such as this – it is recommended to keep your iPhone or iPad up-to-date.
How to update iOS for iPhone or iPad?
Here are the steps to follow to update your iPhone or iPad to the latest operating system version supported:
- Open the “Settings” app on your device (it looks like a gear).
- Press on the “General” button.
- Tap on “Software Updates”.
- Press on “Download and Install” or “Install now” if an update was already downloaded.
- Wait for the new operating system to install.
- If you see a message such as “Your software is up to date” or “Your device is running the latest version”, then no updates are available for it.
Update your apps and iOS games to keep them from crashing
This is the previous scenario, but in reverse. You probably have an app or game installed on your phone for a long time now and it probably worked just fine up until recently. What could happen is your app or game is expecting to call functions and access memory locations that don’t exist anymore – because you are running a more recent version of an operating system.
This happened to me back when Asphalt 6 was the game to play and I kept updating my iPhone and keeping the install. At one point, the app wouldn’t run anymore because the operating system changed so much. Usually, developers who are happy with the income their app generates – well, they tend to update the app to keep it running on new operating system versions.
The best thing to do at this point is to check if an update for your app is available on the App Store. Open up the app store and search for the game’s name. Click on the game’s icon in the app store and you will be greeted by the game’s page. If you see the update button, tap on it and voila – once the download finishes, your iOS game will be updated.
Make sure your internet connection is enabled
Accessing invalid memory locations is one reasons that apps crash, but not the only one. Believe it or not, some developers explicitly cause apps to crash when they don’t bother to implement workarounds or design solutions for certain situations. An example would be a game that requires a constant internet connection to their servers. In some situations, when an app that requires a constant internet connection loses said connection, instead of just displaying you a message about it – the developer has it crashing.
I know I have at least one or two games on the app store with this kind of behavior. In my case – I implemented it this way because my client at the time wanted to get the game out as fast as possible and decided to cut corners. “No internet, no game, he said” and I had to oblige. This is true for other developers as well so do not be angry if this happens – sometimes the developer’s hand is forced.
So, in order to avoid a iOS game crash, if that game requires an active internet connection, turn off Airplane Mode and make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. Or make sure you have access to LTE or 5G.
Make sure you are running the iOS game or app on a supported device
In some cases, apps end up running on device they do not support. This is the case of apps designed to run on, let’s say, an iPad Pro that tries to use HDR features and somehow ends up being able to be installed on an iPad Air, which lacks HDR.
Due to how many submissions they get per day on the App Store, Apple can not test all scenarios and the developer is made responsible for making sure they cover their bases. If a developer is short on time, he might skip testing under all circumstances. A couple of mistakes on both the dev and Apple’s side and voila – games and apps are launched on device they were never intended to run on. I’ve seen it happen.
If your app or iOS game keeps crashing make sure to check out the description on the App Store. The game or app might have never been intended to run on your device. Make sure to ask for a refund in this case or, at least, contact Apple Support to let them know.
Sometimes the app or iOS game is just badly designed and programmed
Programming apps and games has become easier over the years and the barrier to entry into the field has been lowered. This means a lot more people have access to software and tools to make apps and games. Since it’s easier to make them, it’s also easier to release them and, in most cases, a young developer might not have the proper knowledge to offer an amazing user experience or stability to the app. So apps and iOS games keep crashing because the developer couldn’t stop them from it.
Again, don’t be harsh on a developer that’s new to the field. Instead, try to be supportive and leave a comment on the game’s page mentioning the crash, your device (iPhone 10/11/12/14 etc) and Operating System. The developer might see it and try to fix it.
What if I followed all the steps and my app or iOS games keep crashing?
If you reached this far and you still have no solution to your problem it means you have to dig deeper. Does a single app behave badly or are there more? If it’s a single app, any of the above reasons will be the cause. If more apps behave the same way then it could be a problem with your phone.
At this point, a good solution would be to send your phone for repairs. It could mean your device has a hardware/physical defect. Taking it to a nearby Apple shop or repair center can be beneficial.
Congrats, you made it to the end of the article. I hope it was beneficial to you. It’s also beneficial to us to have you stick around the blog more. We have more articles that could be of use, such as this one, which teaches you how to run iOS or iPad OS games on a Mac.
If you want to stay up to date with our articles, make sure to give us a follow on twitter. Or, leave a comment bellow telling us how you stopped your app or game from crashing.
You can also check out our coverage of other iOS games just released for your smartphone. Thank you for visiting Best Smartphone Games, I sincerely hope we’ve been of service!
3 thoughts on “Why do my iOS games keep crashing?”
It is nice how you address this topic.But as a dev my opinion is, its usually the fault of the app not anything else.
If we programmers do not catch all possible things which can go wrong, then the app will simply crash. Catching every however, is near impossible since we got so many different devices and software combinations that for us testing ever single on is just not possible.
Often sending feedback to the developer, describing the step towards thet crash can help. Even better, if the user keeps crash logs enabled, those allow us to deep dive into what went wrong and usually allows to nail down the issue.
Last but not least, chasing a bug can be very time consuming, especially if the bug is hard to be reproduced. Its often not worth the time investment to find and fix the bug. (Even if I try to do so)
> Chasing a bug can be very time consuming, especially if the bug is hard to be reproduced. Its often not worth the time investment to find and fix the bug.
I remember when I was starting out in the game’s industry 12 years ago and one of the games I was working on (for a big publisher at the time) had a crash in the tutorial that affected about 20 000 people on android.
I wanted to rush in and investigate the issue but, as it turned out, that was around 1-2% of the install base and the higherups told me to ignore it since it was a low priority.
I agree with the crash logs being enabled suggestion. Maybe it would be worth it to write an article on that topic 🙂