Infinite force close loops for all system apps is just what you want at 4AM

android fail1 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

I’m currently visiting family, and the crash between my US-adjusted day rhythm and their normal Norwegian one caused me to wake up at a rather interesting 4AM today. I went out to the living room and found our dog sleeping on the couch in a rather interesting position. I grabbed my phone, started the camera to take a picture, and that’s when it happened: the phone rebooted.

This was no ordinary reboot however. Upon the app starting up again, all the system apps were force closing repeatedly. From Samsung’s stupid Social Hub to the messaging apps and the logging services, it was one continuous stream of force close messages. I tried another, then a third, then a fourth reboot, and the problem just kept happening. I couldn’t even get away from the home screen because the messages popped up too fast to actually get anywhere than the popup message layer.

The solution was to enter recovery mode and wipe the cache. This is a process that doesn’t actually wipe any data in the sense we think of it, but wipes a cache that Android uses to optimize apps as you go on. Upon the next reboot, I had no force closes and everything is now working fine. Aside from resetting internal variable values in Tasker, I’ve yet to find anything that needs manually fixing.

Having your phone go nuts at 4:00 a.m. when you’re not even home isn’t fun. It was a simple fix this time, but next time might be different. This has made me think that perhaps I should root my phone and install a better recovery system, as even though I have all the important data backed up, being able to get the phone up and running again as quickly as possible might be just as important. On a side note, the fact that you can apparently crash a phone this badly by starting the camera app makes me miss iOS…


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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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