What You Need to Know About Android Crash Logs

Woman frustrated with phone

It can be tough to figure out what’s going on when you’ve got a problem with your phone or tablet, but crash logs can help. These logs can help a professional determine the cause of the crash so they can work to fix it, whether it’s something going on with your phone or a problem with an application. If you want to make sure the next problem you have with your Android phone or tablet is no big deal, we’ve got everything you need to know about how to access and read crash logs for your Android devices.

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Turning On Developer Options

For the most part, Android crash logs are designed to give Android developers an inside look at what caused an application to crash. Because of this, the average Android user won’t see any crash logs on their phone. If you want to take a look at crash logs or get crash logs to send to a professional, the first step is turning on developer options.

To turn on developer options, open your Settings app then go to About Phone or About Tablet, depending on what type of device you have. If there are multiple sections in your Settings app, chances are the About section is under a tab called something like “General.” Once you’ve found this section, scroll down to the build number (the last item on the page) and tap it 10 times. After you’ve tapped it 10 times, you should see a message that says “You are now a developer!”

Once you’ve done this, you can look at developer options above the About section on your phone.

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Getting the Logs

Now that you’ve enabled developer mode, you can use those new developer options to obtain crash logs for your device. The good news is, this process is fairly simple as well. The first step is enabling the USB debugging option, allowing you to connect your device to a PC for debugging. If you’re on Android 5.0 or later, you should also change the log buffer size to 4 MB per buffer.

The next step is to open the app and attempt to recreate the error. For this step, simply do whatever you were doing when the application originally crashed. Once an application has crashed, the log file will be created. Next, connect your device to a computer via USB and download Android SDK Platform Tools. Inside the “platform-tools” folder, right-click an empty space and click “Open command window here.” Once inside the command prompt, type CD C:\AndroidLog then use this command: adb logcat -v threadtime -d > C:\AndroidLog\logcat.txt.

When you want to view the log file, you can find it in the C:\AndroidLog\ folder with the title “logcat.txt.” You can also send this log file to a professional if you need help figuring out what’s causing an error.

Understanding Logs

When it comes to understanding Android crash logs, the best thing you can do is understand the most common problems Android devices encounter.

JVM stack traces are a common problem with Android apps because they’re generally written in Kotlin or Java. JVM stack trace crash logs will have basic information about the error, including an error message and a stack trace with file/line number information.

ANR (application not responding) errors happen when an app doesn’t respond to user input for a period of time. This essentially leaves the user looking at a “frozen” application, and is generally caused by long-running tasks.

Understanding and interpreting crash logs isn’t the easiest task in the world, but Android’s SDK Platform Tools make it a little bit easier. If you’re looking for a better way to get crash logs and fix bugs with your application, consider an Android SDK that includes crash log reporting.

Want to know some other cool things you can do with Android’s Developer Options? Watch the video below from Gadget Hacks to learn 7 Cool Things You Can Do with Android’s Developer Options Menu.