Without apps, our Android phones may as well be Nokia 3310s with oversized screens and without the wonderful Snake game. Apps are our window into the world on our phones, so when Android apps are not working or not loading properly, then it becomes a problem.
There are many reasons Android apps can stop working; thankfully there are many ways to get them back up and running again. We’ve compiled a lengthy list of fixes for your Android apps, should they misbehave.
Possible Fixes for Unresponsive Android Apps
If your Android apps are not working or loading properly, give these possible fixes a try. We’ll elaborate on each of them individually below.
- Roll Back to an Older Version of the App
- Uninstall Android System WebView Updates
- Update the App
- Check for Any New Android Updates
- Force-Stop the App
- Clear the App’s Cache and Data
- Uninstall and Install the App Again
- Restart Your Phone
- Check Your SD Card (If You Have One)
- Reset to Factory Settings
1. Roll Back to an Older Version of the App
Not every update is a good update. (Windows 10 users can relate.) While an app update is designed to fix existing problems and add new features, sometimes that process can bring with it a whole host of new problems under the hood.
Annoyingly, Android doesn’t offer an integrated method of rolling back an update, while uninstalling and reinstalling the app will still put you back on the latest version of the app (though that method, as we’ll show later, can also help).
To roll back an Android app update, you’ll need an APK (installation file, essentially) of an older version of the app. You can usually find these at APK Mirror.
Where you can search for the relevant app, scroll down to find the version you want, then tap the “Download APK” button.
Once you’ve downloaded it to your phone, go to your Downloads folder and open the APK file to install it. (You may need to allow your browser to install unknown apps first.)
Once you’ve done that, you should be running an older – hopefully more functional – version of the app.
2. Uninstall Android System WebView Updates
In March 2021, there was a widespread error across almost all Android devices that caused a number of apps – including Gmail – to stop working. Eventually, Google released a fix that required users to update both the Chrome app and Android System WebView. (If you haven’t done that yet, do so now.)
In the meantime, plucky users found a fix that could be applied if you encounter similar problems in the future. Android System WebView is a vital background app that lets other apps show web content. If there’s an error here, it can affect a lot of apps, and uninstalling its latest update can help.
To roll back the latest version of Android System WebView, go to “Settings -> Apps & notifications” on your phone and tap “Android System WebView” in the list.
On the “App info” screen, tap the three-dotted icon at the top-right corner, then “Uninstall updates” and OK.
3. Update the App
The next step is to check whether there are any updates available for the app. Open the Google Play Store, tap the hamburger menu in the upper-left corner, then select “My apps & games.” Apps that have updates available are listed here. If you see your malfunctioning app on the list, tap Update, then check it again to see if the issue has been resolved.
Alternatively, you can simply search for the app using the search bar at the top. If there’s an update available, you’ll see an Update button underneath the app’s thumbnail.
4. Check for Any New Android Updates
Another way to solve the problem of an Android app not loading is to update your system. Users are alerted via a notification when an OTA is available to download and install, but sometimes, for whatever reason, we put off doing the upgrade and forget all about it.
Updating your device usually brings with it numerous benefits including ensuring the smooth running of your apps. To check whether an update has landed on your device manually, go to your device’s “Settings -> System -> System updates.” Depending on your phone’s model, the route may vary. You may need to go through “System -> Advanced -> System update,” or instead, look for the “About phone” section and from there select “Software update.”
You will find your update status after following these steps. If a new update is indeed available, follow the steps that appear on the screen. Once it is installed, the phone will reboot, and you can then try again to load the troublesome app.
5. Force-Stop the App
If you have tried all the above but the app continues to malfunction, try and force-stop the app through the phone’s Settings. Most of the time when an app crashes or freezes, it’s because you have not fully closed it. Force-stopping the app kills the current instance of the app quickly and painlessly.
From “Settings -> App & Notifications (or Apps on other phones) -> See All Apps,” find and tap on the specific app that is causing problems. Underneath, you’ll notice some buttons/options. Select the one that says “Force Stop,” then go back to the app and try to launch it again.
6. Clear the App’s Cache and Data
Another solution to this annoying problem is to go a bit deeper and clear the app’s cache and data. Again, the steps vary based on manufacturer, but on a OnePlus handset, you need to tap “Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> See All Apps.” Tap on the respective app, then on “Storage -> Clear Cache.”
Note that this is a temporary solution and that over time, the cached data reserve will fill up again, so you’ll need to repeat the process.
7. Uninstall and Install the App Again
If none of the solutions discussed above have worked for you, you could try uninstalling and installing the app again. To uninstall an app, simply long-press on it until a list of options shows up on the screen. Select the Uninstall option, then proceed to the Google Play Store, search for the app, and install it again on your handset.
Another solution is to go to the Google Play Store, search for the app, and from there tap on the Uninstall button that is usually positioned underneath on the left.
Just keep in mind that uninstalling some apps will wipe out your data/media.
8. Restart Your Phone
This is the first thing you should do when dealing with an unresponsive app. Press your device’s power button for approximately 10 seconds and select the Restart/Reboot option. If there is no Restart option, then power it down, wait for five seconds, and turn it back on again.
Once the system loads again, try launching the app again to see if the issue is still around. If yes, continue reading.
9. Check Your SD Card (If You Have One)
For those who are dealing with an app that crashes, the culprit may be a corrupted memory card. In such a case, any apps that write to the faulty memory card will be plagued by this type of error.
To check whether that’s indeed the problem, remove your memory card and launch the app once again. If it works now, great, but you’ll probably need to get a new memory card. Nevertheless, the SD card is probably not entirely non-functional, so you’ll most likely be able to transfer your data to your PC safely.
10. Reset to Factory Settings
As a last resort, reset your device to factory settings. Do not attempt this unless you’ve backed up all your data beforehand. A factory reset has the effect of wiping everything on your phone or tablet. Once the deed is done, you’ll be able to restore everything quickly and painlessly, but only provided you’ve made a backup.
To perform a factory reset on your device, head to “Settings -> System -> Erase all data (factory reset).” Depending on the phone you are using, the path may be a little different. For example, on some phones, you’ll need to go to “Settings -> Backup & reset -> Factory data reset.”
Fix Instant Apps Not Loading
The tips we’ve covered so far apply to standard Android apps that have been installed on your phone. However, there’s another type of app: Instant apps. These are available for a select number of devices and don’t require installation. Even though they are not fully-fledged apps, they can still malfunction from time to time. When that happens, you can try to apply one of these solutions.
1. Check Your Internet Connection and Reload the App
If you’re dealing with an unresponsive Instant app, make sure to check your Wi-Fi or mobile data connection and verify it is functioning properly. Check here for in-depth instructions on how to fix the mobile data not working on your Android. Alternatively, learn how to fix the obtaining IP address error on Android.
Once you confirmed that the Internet connection is up and running, tap on the link again to see if the app works as it should.
2. Turn Instant Apps On and Off
If the app is still not working for you, try to turn Instant Apps on and off and see whether that helps. Open “Settings -> Apps & notifications -> Default apps -> Opening links.” Turn the Instant apps toggle off and back on.
For good measure, also check the Instant Apps preference section, which is right below Instant apps. See if the Upgrade web links option is on, and turn it on if it’s not. This allows web links to open in Instant apps instead of in the browser when available. Once you’re done, go back to your Instant app and check it again.
Now that you’ve learned how to fix Android apps that are not working or not loading, maybe you’d like to continue to improve your Android experience, in which case you may be interested in reading about how to schedule dark mode to activate at sunset on Android. And, for something a little different, see our list of these retro-inspired Android flip phones.