There are currently 2,577,370 apps available in the Google Play Store for Android devices that offer a wide range of amazing options for play, business, and personal convenience.
With all these amazing applications, you’d expect them to work when you need them.
When they don’t, it is easy to get frustrated and wonder why.
Why Are My Apps Not Working On My Android? (Reasons)
Android apps are pieces of purposeful software that are preinstalled or can be officially downloaded through the Google Play Store.
Apps not working on an Android device can be caused by issues with the operating system, the applications themselves, or the device the app is running on.
1. Operating System Issues
The Android operating system, or OS, is an open-source Linux-based operating system that was designed primarily for use in mobile touchscreen devices, such as smartphones.
A. The Size Of Android OS
The Android OS is the most utilized in the world, controlling approximately 72% of the mobile OS market.
The sheer number of devices and applications that are available on the system can create operating system issues.
An open-source platform, like Android, is publicly available for use in application development.
This public availability leads to less control over the quality of applications, which may lead to applications that do not work or cause functionality problems with the OS or other applications.
The sheer size of the Android platform also makes it a prime target for hackers who aim to introduce malware onto a device.
B. Android System WebView
In March of 2021, a large number of users reported applications that were not working properly.
When investigated, the problem was traced back to the Android System WebView installation.
Android System WebView is the software that makes it possible for third-party applications to open web pages from within the application instead of having to navigate outside of the app to a web browser, making applications more efficient and streamlined.
A buggy update caused applications that used System WebView to crash or to be stuck in a crash loop.
If your Android apps are crashing, you may have the faulty update installed.
C. System Errors
A system error is a malfunction in the software of the OS that causes the device to no longer work properly.
System errors can affect the responsiveness of applications on an Android device.
Overheating is a common issue with Android devices and may be caused by maxed-out screen brightness, resource-intensive games, too many operations going on at once, or excessive streaming, especially when attached to a charger.
Overheating can cause app crashes by corrupting the OS or application data needed to properly run the app.
To combat overheating, reduce screen brightness, close unneeded apps, and try not to use resource-hungry apps when connected to a charger.
Lagging or frozen interface can be caused by resource-intensive apps running in the background, too many apps open at once, or slow system feedback.
System feedback is where the hardware evaluates the amount of storage available and delivers this information to the OS.
Any of these scenarios can cause a laggy or frozen system, resulting in applications that do not work.
To fix a laggy or frozen system, begin by powering down the device and turning it back on.
Also, check for and turn off applications that automatically run in the background such as location services.
Loss of connectivity can be caused by poor signal strength, the poor condition of the SIM card, or simply by your device going too long without being powered down.
Loss of connectivity can affect the workings of applications by not allowing the app to communicate with its home server via the internet.
Many applications such as TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook require connection to function at all.
To fix a loss of connectivity, first, turn off the device and turn it back on.
Next, check the signal strength the device is getting.
If neither of those tactics works, check the condition of the SIM card.
It may be time for a replacement SIM.
The Google Play Store is also a common culprit for system errors.
Google Play is responsible for downloading new applications as well as searching for and installing updates for installed software.
This means that the Google Play Store uses and stores a lot of data in the memory cache.
A full cache or a cache that contains corrupted data can cause apps to stop working.
2. Application Issues
Applications are downloaded or preinstalled software designed to perform a function such as playing a game, editing a photo, or connecting to other users.
Application software is separate from the host operating system and requires a separate set of instructions to run.
Issues with the instruction set of the application itself can cause it to stop working.
A. Bad Update
Applications, like the operating system, require updates to fix bugs, security problems, and to add new features to the app.
A bad update, however, can create problems with the application.
A bad update may occur when the update was pushed out to release too quickly and not fully tested, resulting in glitches, or if after installation, the new update is found to contain a bug, which creates an unforeseen issue with the application or between the application and the OS.
B. Unsupported App
Like everything in the tech world, applications do reach the end of life.
End of life is when an application is no longer supported by the maker of the app.
No longer supported is the term used when the application will no longer receive updates and patches addressing discovered vulnerabilities.
It also means the app will no longer be altered to fit with updates to the operating system the application is running on.
This lack of support can cause the app to stop working by no longer being compatible with the host OS or by the introduction of malware and increased bugs in the application.
C. Bad App
With the Android platform being an open-source platform, the ability to produce and release an application into the Google Play Store is simpler than with other platforms such as Apple.
Apple, being a closed platform, can be extremely specific when evaluating potential app store releases.
Android, on the other hand, does not have the same amount of control.
This may result in applications released into the Google Play store that are less than stellar in functionality.
Bad applications may also be forms of malware, typically adware and Trojans.
These bad apps will trick the user into downloading them and then proceed to run in the background, flooding the user with ads and using storage and memory on the infected device.
This type of malware app can also reduce the functionality of other legitimate apps by using up needed cache space and running multiple processes behind the scenes.
3. Device Issues
Applications malfunctioning or not working properly can be caused by the device itself.
A. Older Device
As a device ages, it may no longer be able to handle the requirements of certain resource-intensive applications.
Resource-intensive applications that are trying to run on an outdated phone may attempt to use any resources available, causing the OS to overwork, resulting in the malfunctioning of other applications.
Older devices may also not be able to update their OS to the latest version.
Applications that are designed for use on the latest OS will be incompatible with older versions of the OS.
B. Insufficient RAM
The RAM or random-access memory of a phone is where the operating system is stored as well as where the OS stores the information needed to run an application.
When an application is started, its processes are moved from the internal storage to the RAM.
The RAM quickly accesses all the data the application needs and temporarily stores it on the running memory.
The OS also creates the cache needed and used by the application.
RAM is not permanent and is deleted every time a device is powered off.
If the running memory of an Android device is full, the application will not work correctly.
C. Insufficient Internal Memory
The internal memory of an Android device is the permanent memory of the device.
This is where downloaded applications are permanently stored.
Storing applications in the internal memory allows for the retention of the application even when the device is powered off.
The internal storage is also the location of pictures, videos, and files stored on the device, which can fill up the storage area quickly and may result in “Storage is full” messages.
If the internal memory of the device is full, it will not have the storage capacity to download new applications or even possibly application updates.
How Can I Fix Apps That Are Not Working On My Android?
The most common cause of applications not working on Android devices is a lack of updating of either the OS or the application itself.
After updating all your apps and the OS, you should next consider clearing your device’s RAM and cleaning up your internal memory to create more storage space.
How To Update The Android OS
- Open the device’s Settings app.
- Click System or About Phone, depending on your device, and then click System Update.
- Click Check for Update. This will display any system updates available for your device.
- Click Download or Yes if an update is available. This will initiate the download of the update package.
- Once the download is complete, click Continue. This will update the OS.
- When the update is complete, if the device does not shut down and reboot on its own, turn off the device and turn it back on to complete the update process.
How To Update An Application On An Android Device
- Open the Play Store app.
- Click on Menu in the top-left corner, represented by three lines.
- Click on My apps & games from the drop-down menu. This opens a new page with your option boxes at the top.
- Click Updates. This will bring you to a list of available updates for your installed applications.
- Here, you can choose to update a specific application, or you can choose Update all to run all available updates for installed applications.
How To Clear The Google Chrome Browser Cache On An Android Device
- Click on the Chrome app.
- Click on the Menu represented by three dots in the top right corner.
- When the drop-down menu appears, click on History. This will open a new window.
- In the left column, click on Clear Browsing Data. This will open a dialogue box. The dialogue box gives you options to specify a time range from 1 hour to All Time.
- Choose All Time and make sure the boxes next to Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, and Cached images and files are all checked.
- Click Clear data to clear the Google Chrome Browser.
How To Clear The Application Cache On An Android Device
- Click on Settings.
- When the settings box appears, click on Storage.
- Depending on your device, you may need to click Internal storage or Other apps to view the cache. Click on Cached data or Clear cache, depending on the device.
- If asked to confirm the selection, click Ok to continue. This will clear the application cache on your Android device.
How Do I Free Up Internal Memory Space On My Android?
A common issue that prevents Android applications from downloading or running correctly is a full internal memory.
Luckily, cleaning up the internal memory is simple.
It just takes a little bit of time.
The first step is to review all the applications that you have downloaded onto your device.
If there are applications on there that you don’t use anymore, delete them.
Also, look for multiple applications that perform the same function, like multiple photo editing applications or 10 versions of Angry Birds.
Decide which of the applications you use the most and delete the rest.
More culprits for full internal storage are text messages and emails.
Android devices can retain text messages for set periods up to indefinitely.
This can use up massive amounts of storage on your device.
Delete old text messages or instruct your device to delete messages after a specified time frame.
The same scenario holds true for email messages as well.
The device will store all of this data until it is told to trash it.
Photos and videos are also huge memory users.
I am not about to tell you to delete all of your old photos and videos.
What I do recommend, however, is to move those precious memories to a separate location that is not on your device.
This can be to a separate hard drive, a removable storage device such as a USB or an SD card, or a cloud storage option such as Google Photos.
Once the photos and videos are backed up, delete all of the photos and videos that you will not need on your device.
This will free up the internal storage for use elsewhere.
Is It Time To Upgrade My Android Phone?
To figure out if the time has come to upgrade your old Android phone to a shiny new one, there are a few key aspects to take into consideration.
1. Battery Life
As a battery in a phone ages, the chemical reaction needed for the battery to hold a charge wears out, leading to less and less battery life.
To increase the lifespan of your battery, try to avoid charging it overnight, and only charge it when it needs to be charged.
2. Unsupported OS
Android will only continue to support an older version of the operating system for a certain amount of time.
When the OS version is no longer supported, updates and patches will not be released, increasing the vulnerability of the device as well as reducing the functionality and compatibility of the device.
You may be able to upgrade the OS itself, but older devices could be incompatible with the latest versions of the OS.
3. Application Issues
Older Android phones may encounter problems running new applications designed for the latest version of the OS.
Applications may also crash frequently or be slow.
This is caused by the phone not having the computing power to keep up with the demands the applications put on it.
“Number of Android Applications on the Google Play Store.” AppBrain, https://www.appbrain.com/stats/number-of-android-apps. Accessed 24 Feb. 2022.
Operational Issues And Solutions In Android OS. https://www.c-sharpcorner.com/article/operational-issues-and-solutions-in-android-os/. Accessed 25 Feb. 2022.
“What Are Android Apps? Everything You Need To Know.” Android Headlines, 15 Jan. 2020, https://www.androidheadlines.com/what-are-android-apps.
“Why Do My Android Apps Keep Crashing?” The Sun, 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/14425409/android-apps-not-working-fix-why-samsung-galaxy/.