Why Does My Phone Keep Freezing?

Your Android or iPhone is a mini computer. Here’s what’s up

Like any computer, a smartphone may sometimes stop responding. A slow processor, not enough RAM (memory), or a lack of storage could be the cause. An app or an operating system issue can also stop your phone from working, as can a slow or disconnected internet connection. Here are several steps to take to fix your “phone freezing” issues.

How to Fix Your Freezing Phone

Photo of iPhone (left) and Android phone (right) inside a freezer with ice to the right of the phones
  1. Reboot your device. As with almost any electronic device, the first troubleshooting step is to turn it off and turn it back on. Your phone is no different. A restart or reboot may resolve a surprising number of problems. You can quickly and easily restart an iPhone and reboot an Android device.

  2. Update your system software and apps. A flaw in system software can cause sporadic and unpredictable problems. Updating to the most current version of Android or checking for an iOS update at least gives you access to known and fixed system flaws.

  3. Update apps. A bug in an app can affect your device’s available memory and/or performance. The best software developers make an effort to maintain their software and publish periodic updates. You can have your iPhone automatically check for app updates, as well as quickly update apps on Android.

  4. Force the app to quit (or close). This helps when an app simply gets stuck in an unusable state. You tap it, but it doesn’t open or doesn’t respond. Much like on a computer, forcing an app to close stops the app so you can start it again. You can force quit apps on iPhone and close apps on Android.

    On iOS, you shouldn't need to quit apps with any regularity. iOS pays attention to which apps should be running and stops the ones that don't need as much of your device's resources.

  5. Clear up some storage space. Free up storage space by storing videos and photos somewhere other than on your device. Videos can take up a significant amount of storage space, and a lack of storage space can cause a phone to pause or appear to stop working, while full (or almost full) storage may make slow your device.

    You can use Android's file manager to clear some space, while you can free up storage on iPhone through its settings, by deleting apps, or deleting photos and videos in the Photos app.

  6. Remove problem apps. If you notice your phone freezes frequently after you open an app, you might want to remove that app. Some apps are simply flawed and/or crash-prone. You can easily delete apps from your iPhone or uninstall applications from your Android.

  7. Reset your phone. If you’ve tried all of the above steps and your phone still freezes, reset your phone. You can reset an iPhone through the settings, and the process is similar on Android.

    After a reset, you’ll need to go through the standard phone setup process, just as you did when your phone was new. On both iOS and Android, you should be able to restore from a previously made backup.

    Make sure you have backed up your phone before you do a reset. Backup up an Android is fairly straightforward and can be done in many different ways. On iOS, the process involves either backing up to iTunes or using iCloud.

  8. Seek professional help. If you’ve tried all of the above steps and your phone still freezes, you can seek a specialist to figure out if there’s a hardware problem with your device. If you have an iPhone, take your device to an Apple store or contact Apple Support. If you have an Android device, contact either the manufacturer of your phone or contact your carrier for support.

If You Have to Get a New Phone

If a repair doesn’t make economic sense, or if your phone can’t be upgraded to the most currently supported operating system, you may want to purchase a new device.

Generally, any iPhone released in the past twelve months will deliver good performance, as will most mid-range (or better) Android phones released in the same time period.