There’s little more frustrating than being in the middle of doing something on your phone and for it to restart of its own volition. You don’t need to put up with it.
If your phone is constantly restarting, many things could be the culprit. It might be a dodgy app that you’ve installed, a sign that your phone is overheating, or that the battery is dying.
We’re going to run through the troubleshooting steps you should take if your phone is crashing and restarting.
1. Update the Android Operating System
If you have a Windows or Mac computer, you’re used to the concept of updating the operating system to benefit from the latest features, bug fixes, and security patches. Your Android phone is no different.
The number of updates you’ll receive will depend on your phone and manufacturer. Unfortunately, many manufacturers will stop updating their new phones after a couple of years (except for critical fixes), partly as a tactic to get you to upgrade.
Regardless, if your phone operating system is outdated, it could cause issues that make your phone restart. As such, you should check for updates. The exact process will vary per phone model, but it’ll be similar to the following:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Software update.
- Tap Download and install.
- If an update is found, tap Update.
2. Update Your Apps
Alongside updating the operating system, you also need to ensure all the apps on your phone run the latest version. Some apps will update more often than others, depending on the type of app and how involved the developer is.
If you notice that your phone restarts when using a certain app, or when you have it running in the background, then the problem is likely caused by it. As such, you might be running an old version of the app that is incompatible with your Android version, or the app developer might have released a fix for the crashing.
To update your apps:
- Open the Play Store.
- Tap your profile picture in the top-right.
- Tap Manage apps and device.
- This screen will show you if your apps have any updates available. If so, tap Update all.
3. Enable Safe Mode and Remove Apps
As mentioned, a dodgy app could cause your phone to restart unexpectedly. To troubleshoot this, you should turn on Android’s safe mode. In safe mode, only the device’s core apps will run, so it’s a great way to test if an app you installed is at fault.
To boot into safe mode:
- Hold down the power button to open the power menu.
- Press and hold the Power off option.
- This should bring up the Safe mode option, so tap it to boot into safe mode.
If your phone doesn’t restart in safe mode, it’s safe to assume an app you’ve installed is the cause. As such, you should uninstall your apps one by one, beginning with the most recently downloaded, until you find the dodgy app.
4. Clear Out Your Storage
Your phone only has a limited amount of storage space. If less than 10% of your storage is free, you could notice problems with your phone—including it randomly restarting.
As such, you should clear your phone’s storage. There are a number of ways to make space on your phone. For example, you can delete unused apps, clear the cache, empty your internet downloads folder, and so on.
Alternatively, you could expand your storage. If your phone accepts expandable media, buy a microSD card to gain additional internal storage space. Or move data to a cloud provider, like Google Drive or OneDrive.
Most phones let you see how much storage space you have left and help you pinpoint larger files. For example, on a Samsung device:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Device care.
- Tap Storage.
- In the top-right, tap the three vertical dots.
- Tap Storage analysis.
- This will identify duplicate, large, and unused files, which you can then choose to delete.
5. Check for Signs of Overheating
If your phone overheats, it can restart or shut down to protect itself. It’s not uncommon for your phone to get hot during intensive tasks, like gaming for an extended period, but if your phone constantly overheats then it’s a problem.
Check out our guide on why your Android phone is overheating. This explains all the causes and the solutions. Follow them, keep your phone cool, and hopefully it will stop restarting itself.
6. Perform a Factory Reset
If you’ve gone through everything above and your phone continues to restart, you could try the nuclear option: factory reset your phone. This wipes your device and returns everything to default.
As such, it’s vital you back up your Android device before proceeding. While some Google account data is in the cloud, app data and your personal files are likely local and you don’t want to lose them.
The exact procedure to factory reset your phone will vary per device. On a Samsung phone:
- Open Settings.
- Tap General management.
- Tap Reset.
- Tap Factory data reset.
- Tap Reset to confirm.
7. Replace the Battery
Is your phone still restarting? Your phone battery has a finite lifespan and yours could be reaching its end. This is especially likely if your phone restarts and suddenly has far less battery life remaining than it did before.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to replace the battery on most modern Android phones. If your phone has a removable back, you’re in luck, you can buy a replacement battery and pop it in. Otherwise, your best bet is to see if the manufacturer offers repairs, go to a reputable repair shop, or buy a new phone.
Stay On Top of Your Phone Maintenance
If you’ve followed all these steps, your phone should no longer restart unexpectedly. You can get back to enjoying your phone without fear it’ll randomly turn itself off.
Now it’s solved, do your best to keep your phone in good shape. Clear out unwanted data, keep everything updated, and avoid dodgy sites and downloads.