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Saturday, August 15, 2009

How to Handle iPhone Crashes

By Alexia Petrakos

With the arrival of Apple's iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store, the iPhone is more resembling a mini computer than a phone—and with that increased functionality also comes some of same problems that haunt real desktop and laptop computers. This how-to addresses one of the worst of these problems: crashes. There are a few different kinds of crashes that can happen on an iPhone—and we will address each one in turn.

Step 1
You attempt to open an app and as the application is trying to open it immediately closes and returns to the home screen. This behavior might baffle some users of "that other operating system" because when an application crashes it takes the whole computer with it. But Mac, Linux and Unix users know exactly what just happened; the application crashed but the operating system did not. (What a novel concept.)

Step 2
Fortunately for iPhone users the solution to this is the easiest and actually takes a page from "that other operating system's" playbook. Just restart the phone. To do that hold down the Sleep/Awake button (the one at the very top next to the SIM card slot) until a red arrow appears and says, "Slide To Power Off." Slide the red arrow with your finger and the iPhone completely shuts off.

To turn it back on just hold down the Sleep/Awake button again until the Apple logo appears. Once the iPhone has completely restarted you should now be able to run the previously crashing App without any trouble.

Step 3
The opposite of the previous incident we spoke about would be when an iPhone application freezes while still open. Touching the iPhone does nothing and pressing the Home button (the one at the bottom for your thumb) does nothing. In this case, essentially the application itself has crashed. If this happened when we were on a real Mac in OSX, we would just do a "Force Quit" right? The "Force Quit" would kill the application but leave the Operating System unscathed. Well, fortunately, the iPhone is a real Mac and the iPhone Operating System is really OSX, so we can do a Force Quit here too.

Step 4
Hold down the Home button for about six seconds until it returns you to the Home Screen. By doing this you "Force Quit" the application that locked up. If you're still having trouble with your apps after that, restart the phone as described in the solution for Crash Type One (Step 2).

Step 5
Here's what to do when the mother of all crashes occurs to your iPhone. The Sleep/Awake button does nothing; the Home button does nothing and the Holy Water you sprinkled on it to exorcise the demons from it didn't help either.

Step 6
The secret to recovering from this kind of crash is to hold down both the Sleep/Awake and Home buttons at the same time. This is the equivalent of holding down the Power button on a PC or even just pulling the power cord of a PC clean out of the wall. The iPhone will go straight into a restart and you will see the Apple logo come up. No red arrows this time. Congratulations, you have just exorcised the demons from your iPhone!

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