5 Reasons Why Mobile Apps Crash
By Jash Unadkat, Community Contributor - December 2, 2022
With smartphones becoming a fixture of everyone’s daily life, millions now rely entirely on mobile applications for many day-to-day operations. Apps are everywhere, be it online shopping, booking tickets, banking, trading, bill payments, or essential deliveries. This has led to massive competition among app creators and companies to deliver apps with flawless and exceptional user experiences.
No app is perfect. Since each app is used via many devices with unique operating systems, apps are bound to crash.
- These app crashes or glitches can be very frustrating for routine app users.
- This can be proven by the fact that 53% of people uninstall an app if it crashes or freezes, and 61% expect apps to load within the first four seconds.
Even if developers and testers cannot do away with all app crashes, they can certainly make an effort to minimize them. To do so, they must be clear on why apps crash.
Five Critical Reasons why an App Crash occurs
1. Not Testing on Real Mobile Devices
Testing is unavoidable. However, the real deal is testing on real devices, which helps monitor an app’s performance in real user conditions. This leads to faster detection and fixing of bugs. However, it can be challenging for teams to ensure comprehensive test coverage for their apps, given the highly fragmented mobile user base. Due to budget constraints, teams often end up releasing apps that aren’t thoroughly tested on enough real devices and platforms. This might result in an unexpected app crash for an end-user accessing the app via an untested device.
- Teams can’t have all the necessary mobile devices in their mobile testing labs.
- Using emulators or simulators for each device is also practically not feasible.
- Adopting a real device cloud can help teams achieve comprehensive mobile testing on desired platforms in such a case.
2. Poor Network Conditions
It’s vital to remember that mobile devices have unique network configurations (Edge, 2G, 3G, 4G). For example, a few devices may support speeds up to 4G, and others may support network speeds up to 3G.
- A developer may have tested the app’s performance over a good Wi-Fi connection, but an end-user is trying to use the app in poor network conditions.
- Let’s say a user experiences a change in network connectivity from 4G to 3G or 2G when they enter an elevator. This leads to a loss of network packets.
- In this case, the user might encounter an app crash or a frozen screen due to a change in connectivity.
A solution to avoid this problem is to test the app’s behavior in different network conditions. This can be done using a network simulation feature that allows testers to manually simulate networks like 2G/3G/4G.
Also, an effective way to handle the network change issue is to inform users beforehand about the temporary network change and its effect on the app. This will ensure that users don’t get annoyed.
3. Inappropriate Memory Management
Memory is vital, particularly for mobile operating systems where RAM is often constrained. With different mobile devices operating on varying memory capacities, developers must ensure that apps are memory-efficient for many devices.
- If an app consumes excess memory in the background, it may lead to inefficient memory consumption for other apps or, in the worst-case scenario, an app crash or freeze.
- Every app holds specific object references that need to be released to make memory available.
- Developers must ensure that only the required objects are allocated and released promptly.
Follow-Up Read: 8-Step Mobile App Performance Testing Checklist
4. The Agile Nature of Development
The Agile approach in CI has become a standard for most development teams. It focuses on frequent releases of new features or updates at regular intervals to enhance user experience.
- It’s important to note that even operating systems are upgraded at regular intervals. T
- his, too, can lead to compatibility issues with the existing applications in case the new OS version is unstable or incompatible with the hardware setup or the app.
- In some cases, the OS is stable, but the user hasn’t updated the app, resulting in an app crash.
These days, mobile teams often use third-party services to speed up development and provide additional features. But integrating these services brings its own set of complexities. As a result, teams need to test all third-party APIs and verify if there are any performance limitations for any specific platform (iOS, Android) before integration.
- To do so, teams must ensure that their apps are cross-platform tested.
- Testing apps on the latest and legacy versions of Android and iOS operating systems will help teams identify any discrepancies or bottlenecks.
5. Exception Handling
An app crashes because of a sudden exit in the program flow due to an unhandled exception. As app development involves complex programming, errors are inevitable. It may be due to improper memory management, an unexpected APIs change, or a sudden drop in the network connection while communicating.
- Exception handling is an effective technique for managing such unexpected app behavior.
- In any of the above cases, an appropriately programmed app with well-defined exceptions will catch such unexpected behavior and swiftly terminate the app’s activity while keeping the end-user informed.
Mobile application development is an extensive domain. Developers and testers are bound to face errors, but that is a natural part of the iterative process that leads to creating an excellent product. Testing mobile apps are an integral part of every development lifecycle. Paying close attention to the points highlighted above and testing accordingly on real devices will make a notable difference in the quality of apps.