What to do if an App Store app you downloaded isn’t working or won’t open

By , Mar 18, 2016

app store rage face troubleshooting

Have you ever downloaded an app from the App Store only to find that it wouldn’t launch, crashed, or didn’t work every time you opened it?

It can be annoying when you can’t open your apps, especially when you may have just paid good money to purchase it from the App Store, so in this piece, we’ll go over a few troubleshooting steps you can take to try and get the app to work correctly.

Trouble with App Store apps

If you’re having trouble launching and using an app that you just downloaded from the App Store, don’t be so quick to blame the developer and suggest that the app is garbage. Although it very well could be, don’t get me wrong, you should never count out the idea that something else could be the culprit.

Possible issues you may encounter with an app include:

  • The app crashing as soon as you tap on it from the Home screen
  • The app not opening at all from the Home screen
  • The app opening, but hanging on a blank page and not loading
  • The app launches, and lets you tap on things, but then hangs or crashes

What causes these problems? – There are a number of reasons, but everyone’s device is different because we all use different software and we all configure our devices differently from one another. Some reasons an app may not work include:

  • Buggy code in the app or iOS
  • Incompatible iOS device
  • Lack of network connection when it’s needed
  • Low memory
  • Corrupted download

If you suspect any of the above reasons, follow the steps below to troubleshoot why an App Store app may not be working as you expect it to.

Steps you can take to resolve a problem with an app

Although an app may not be working at this point in time, there are sometimes ways you can resolve the problem yourself. Other times, you may need to contact support. Here are some troubleshooting tips to get your app to work right on your iOS device(s):

Close the app and re-launch it

Killing an app from the iOS app switcher

Sometimes an app simply doesn’t initiate correctly because of low memory or a software conflict. Conflicts are far more common on jailbroken devices, but on rare occasion, they can happen on non-jailbroken devices too.

If you suspect that the app might work if you could simply give it another chance, open the App Switcher and slide up on the app to force-quit it, then re-launch it to see if it loads correctly that time. If not, try killing all apps from the App Switcher, and then re-launch the app to see if it loads correctly.

Try rebooting your iOS device

have you tried turning it off and on again gif

If that didn’t work, the problem could be with iOS itself. To fix this, you can try a reboot of your device so that iOS can fully reinitialize. To do this, you can press and hold the power button until you see the slide to power off slider, then then slide it to shut the device off. Afterwards, press the power button down until you see an Apple Logo.

Once started back up, enter your passcode (if you set one) and see if the app works now.

Make sure iOS is up to date or compatible

Check for updates in iOS

Some apps require a specific version of iOS. If you downloaded an app and it’s not working as expected, make sure that iOS is up to date. Typically, apps that require a software version newer than what you have will not be allowed to install via App Store restrictions, but in rare instances, certain features of an app may be disabled on some firmware versions.

Moreover, if you download a major software update when Apple launches it after a special event, sometimes apps may take a while to receive an update to support the new firmware. This can cause instability such as crashing, or even impact app usability.

To make sure you’re on the latest version of iOS, you can open your Settings app and navigate to General > Software Update. Any updates you may have waiting for you will appear here.

Make sure the app itself is up to date

App Store Check for Updates

If an app you downloaded from the App Store suddenly stops working on your device, app developers are often aware of it and working on a fix. You can check for an update by launching the App Store and going to the Updates tab.

Conversely, you may want to enable Automatic Updates on your device so that app updates are installed automatically on your device. You can do this by opening the Settings app and going to iTunes & App Store > Updates and turning the switch to the On position.

Now keep in mind, some app updates may actually be counter productive and break apps, so you should always be wary of some updates. If an app is working properly before an update, consider waiting a few days and then checking the App Store reviews to see if it’s a good update.

Check your network connection


Some apps require a network connection to function properly, such as social networking, communication, and content-fetching apps. If you have a poor cellular network connection, or aren’t connected to a Wi-Fi network, this will impact the app’s ability to fetch new data and will result in an error message.

In some cases, being on unsupported networks may even crash an app. I’ve been in a scenario where trying to connect to a public AT&T Wi-Fi network would crash my Shopkick app on my iPhone repeatedly until I switched to my LTE connection. The point is, some Wi-Fi networks, despite being connected, have a log-in portal that you have to complete to gain network access, and the app might get confused and rage quit.

Try downloading another app from the App Store

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If you’re having trouble with an app you downloaded from the App Store, try downloading another free app to see if the same problem occurs. If it doesn’t, then the problem may be related to the app itself, and not your device. This would at least suggest the problem isn’t on your end.

Delete and re-install the app

Delete an app from the Home screen

Sometimes the reason you may be experiencing issues could be because the download was corrupted and you have an incomplete app installation.

You can try to delete the app and re-install it by tapping and holding on the app icon and then tapping the “X” button to delete the app. Then, just launch the App Store and search for the app again so you can download it once again. This will install a fresh copy of the app on your device, hopefully without any glitches this time!

Contact app support

Contact App Support from the App Store

There are few other things you can do if you still had problems using the app. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time on a system restore to get a single App Store app to work properly, so the next best thing you can do is contact the app developer through the App Store’s support link.

To get there, you need to find the app in question, and then under the Reviews tab, you’ll tap on the blue App Support button. This will take you to the app’s support page where you can contact someone for help. Sometimes you’ll get linked to a forum for assistance, and sometimes you’ll get links to contact information of the developer so you can communicate with them directly.

Here, you’ll be able to explain your issues, and hopefully they’ll be able to pinpoint the issues and fix it in a later app update. It may mean you have to wait a while longer, but at least you get the chance of a working app at some point!

Last resort: ask for a refund

app store refund

In some cases, the problem can’t be fixed, and the developer may not reply back or fix the problem in prompt time. In these cases, the best thing to do is to simply ask Apple for a refund on the app if you paid money for it. We have a great tutorial on how to request a refund for a broken app and Apple generally approves most refund requests.

Wrapping up

Although most apps should work out of the box as soon as they’re installed from the App Store, sometimes a quirk or a bug at a certain point in time cam cause a hiccup. Sometimes, it’s just a junk app. Hopefully the steps in this tutorial were enough to get your app up and running, but if they weren’t we wish you the best of luck in a future update fixing the problem!

Has an App Store app ever refused to work right on your iOS device(s) before? Share in the comments!

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  • Favna

    10/10 for the main article image. Haven’t read it yet and already a 10/10.

  • GP

    That was funny AF

  • Martynet

    Happened to me yesterday… After I updated about 10 apps, all of them crashed on launch. Restarted the iPhone and all ok.

  • iByron

    You mentioned “low memory” as a potential culprit. I have found many times when an app crashes immediately on launch that I’ve got a whole lot of apps loaded, many of which are doing background work.

    Killing an number of those, especially those running background tasks that I may not need (three or four location-based apps for example) often clears up the problem. All of those open apps may not affect battery life, but they do still take up memory.

  • You’re complicating the matter. It doesn’t work, you let Apple/Itunes know when you get the receipt. There’s a place on there to report a problem. They have always refunded me for the problem. I delete the App, problem solved.

  • Jerry

    never had this problem