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Why Won’t My iPhone Apps Open?
Your iPhone apps won’t open because your iPhone has a software problem. When an app crashes, it usually doesn’t take the whole iPhone with it. Instead, you end up back on the Home screen, and the app terminates in the background. Most of the time, that’s enough to fix a software bug – but not always.
Apps don’t exist in a vacuum, either. In my experience, iPhone apps usually won’t open because of a problem with the iPhone operating system (iOS), not a problem with the app itself.
In this article we'll walk you step-by-step through the process of troubleshooting if our app that won’t open. We’ll start simple and work our way toward the more involved fixes, if and when they become necessary.
1. Turn Your iPhone Off and Back On
Turning your iPhone off and back on can resolve hidden software issues that may prevent your apps from opening correctly. When you turn off your iPhone, the operating system shuts down all the little background programs that help your iPhone to run. When you turn it back on, they all start fresh, and sometimes that’s enough to fix a software glitch that had been preventing your apps from opening.
To turn your iPhone off, press and hold the power button on your iPhone until ‘slide to power off’ appears on the screen. Slide the icon across the screen with your finger, and wait for your iPhone to shut off. It’s normal for the process to take up to 30 seconds. To turn your iPhone back on, press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen, and then let go.
2. Check for Updates in The App Store
One of the main reasons app developers release updates is to fix software bugs that can cause problems like this one. Instead of combing through the list to find the problem app, we believe your best bet is simply to update all your apps at once.
To update your apps, open the App Store and tap on the Account icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Scroll down to the Updates section and tap Update All to update every app simultaneously.
3. Delete the App And Reinstall It
The idea that you should delete the app from your iPhone and redownload it from the App Store is the first thing most technicians will instruct you to do. It’s the “unplug it and plug it back in” school of thought, and a lot of the time it works.
I think it’s a good place to start too, but I don’t want to get your hopes up. Ask yourself, “Are all of my apps not opening, or is it a problem with just one app?”
If only one of your apps won’t open, there’s a good chance that deleting the app from your iPhone and reinstalling it from the App Store will fix the problem.
If many of your apps won’t open, I don’t recommend you delete and reinstall all of them, because it’s probably a waste of time. Instead, we’ll have to address the underlying cause, which is the iPhone’s operating system (iOS).
4. When Was the Last Time It Was Updated?
There are over 1.5 million apps in the App Store, and not all of them are kept up to date. The software code that runs iPhone apps changes every time Apple releases a new version of iOS. Usually the changes aren’t too drastic, but if an app hasn’t been updated in years, there’s a good chance it’s incompatible with your version of iOS.
If you recently upgraded to a new version of iOS, especially if it was a major upgrade, like going from iOS 13 to iOS 14 (not 14.2 to 14.2.1, for example), this may explain why your app won’t open.
To find out when an app was last updated, open the App Store on your iPhone. Search for the app and tap Version History to see when the app’s update history was last changed.
Another way to test for this is to ask a friend with the same model iPhone and iOS version to download and open the app. If the app works on their iPhone, then there’s a software problem with your device. If the app doesn’t open on their iPhone, there’s a problem with the app itself.
Unfortunately, if an app is too old to run on a newer version of iOS, there’s nothing you can do to make it work. Your best bet is to contact the app developer and ask if they’re planning to release an updated version.
5. Reset All Settings
You’ll find this reset by going to Settings -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset All Settings, and it’s not something we recommend doing unless it’s absolutely necessary. Reset All Settings doesn’t erase any of your personal data from your iPhone, but its name suggests, it does reset all your settings back to factory defaults. If you’ve taken the time to optimize your battery life, for example, you’ll have to do it all over again.
6. Back Up Your iPhone, And Restore
If you’ve tried resetting the settings on your iPhone, uninstalled and reinstalled the app, and you’re convinced the app isn’t too old to run on your version of iOS, it’s time to try the last option. Back up your iPhone to iCloud, or Finder, iTunes, restore your iPhone using iTunes or Finder, and then restore your personal data from your backup.