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In general: how do you know if random Force Closes (FC) are due to faulty hardware or not?

I experience a few FC's per day on standard apps (Skype, Facebook, Chrome) using stock Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 (ICS) on my Galaxy Nexus.

If it was another random Android device I would get it, but not on Google's flagship with this much development behind it.

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Random force closes are only suspicious if it's truly random (i.e. no plausible causes) and it's only happening on your device. In most other cases, it's simply due to poorly coded third party apps.

There are two kinds of force close dialogs:

  • Android offers to force close applications that fail to respond to an input event within five seconds. When this happens, the force close dialog offers you to either "wait", "report", or "force close" the app (this is also called the ANR/Application Not Responding dialog).
  • There is also another force close dialog that happens due to an unrecoverable crash or unhandled exception (e.g. null pointer error, stack overflow, array out of bound, etc). This crash dialog would not offer you to "wait", just to "report" or "force close".

In any case, check the report dialog and see if you can scrap any useful info (most importantly, the traceback) to determine whether it's an application bug. Google the traceback message with the name of the app to see if it's probably a common issue with that particular version of the app.

Make sure you keep your apps up to date.

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So, what do you call the kind of force close where it actually just closes, like you would have pressed the home button? I thought that was also called a force close but I guess I got the terminology mixed up. –  bigbadonk420 Sep 20 '12 at 8:27
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Never experienced an unprompted force close. Do you have a specific example? –  Enigma Sep 20 '12 at 18:04
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Force-closes are pretty much never related to hardware, only to software. A kernel panic (and a subsequent device reboot) is what happens when the hardware is faulty.

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Not to be nit-picky but, kernel panic, does not necessarily apply to faulty hardware, it can also happen if incorrect kernel is used, or wrong boot image applied, or absent driver from kernel, misconfigured kernel... :) –  t0mm13b Apr 9 '13 at 21:22
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