Daily Tip: How to diagnose and fix springboard crashes [jailbreak]

Jailbroken and curious how you can diagnose those annoying springboard crashes that plague jailbreakers? While the benefits of jailbreaking outweigh the annoyances for many users, a crashing springboard can still be beyond frustrating. If your springboard is crashing sporadically, there can be several reasons why. There is also an easier way to fix it than to completely restore your phone. Hit the jump for some helpful tips and tricks on ridding yourself of evil crashing springboards!

Resprings are, of course, a necessary evil when it comes to jailbreaking. While stock apps don't typically have access to lower level parts of the phone, jailbreak apps do. Anytime you install something that changes lower level files, you'll typically have to restart the springboard in order for those changes to take affect. But what happens when your springboard starts resprining on its own? Or if your jailbroken iPhone starts crashing into safe mode? I know it can be frustrating, but there's typically a reason.

An app you installed is not compatible with your version of iOS

I know this is easy to point out, but it's something a lot of beginning jailbreakers overlook. Most jailbreak apps will tell you in the app description if you need to stay away from it based on your version of iOS. They probably mean it. Running an app that doesn't play nice with your iOS version can cause considerable headaches, so heed their warnings. A lot of people had issues related to compatibility on 4.2.1 after the tethered jailbreak was released.

Most apps were not updated for 4.2.1 so if you installed them, the odds your springboard was going to crash or your phone was going to start rebooting randomly was pretty good.

You have certain apps installed that don't play nice together

This one is a bit harder to diagnose. Sometimes the best to do is ask around a jailbreak forum. If your device just recently started producing random crashes, uninstall any apps you've installed recently. If the issue goes away, one of the apps you uninstalled was the issue. I typically start installing them again one by one. When the crashes start occurring again, I know what app is the culprit.

And as a common courtesy, shoot an e-mail to the developer and let them know what apps you have installed, what iOS version your'e on, and what issues you were having. Feedback is crucial when it comes to making good apps. The more a developer knows, the better their apps can be.

It's also worth noting that jailbreak developers typically will list issues with other apps in the release notes. Always read those before updated a jailbroken application. That brings us to our next culprit.

A recent app update is causing the crashes

This isn't typical but sometimes app updates can cause compatibility issues either with your iOS version or with another app. This is far less common but still an issue from time to time. If you recently updated an app and your iPhone starting misbevaving afterwards, uninstall that app completely. If the issue resolves itself, the update was an issue. Again, report the issue to the developer so they can fix it. Most developers (especially jailbreak) are extremely responsive to user feedback.

This is another example of why it is important to read update release notes as well. If the developer knows the update creates an issue with another app, they'll list it. You can save yourself the headache by passing up that update.

You installed a bad app from an untrusted repository

Cydia allows you to add repositories at your own will. For new users or easily gullible users, this can be dangerous. I can not stress this one enough - do not EVER, EVER install an app from a repository that you are not 100% positive is safe. Adding a repository for a beta from a trusted developer is one thing, but don't add random repos on your device unless you either know the person hosting it, or know the app you are downloading is tested and from a trusted developer.

If you do happen to install an app from an untrusted source, immediately remove the app from your phone and delete the repository.

You restored from a backup that was previously jailbroken

This is the big one. And typically the most common cause of crashy springboards. I never recommend jailbroken users to restore from a backup. For example, if you are jailbroken on iOS 4.1 and want to upgrade to 4.2.1 and jailbreak using greenpois0n, you should not restore from a backup.

Never ever restore from a backup that could potentially have bits of an old jailbreak in it. I see this cause issues more than anything. And unfortunately, the only remedy is to completely restore your phone and start over. Not fun for anyone.

If you guys have any other springboard issues and remedies, be sure to share them with us in the comments. We'd love to hear them!

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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

46 Comments
  • "You restored from a backup that was previously jailbroken"
    Ok, this one makes my head spin. So, if I've synced to Itunes after I've jailbreaked, a backup automatically happens during a sync, right?...
    So, when I upgrade to 4.3 when it comes out, I have to wipe everything and start from scratch? (i.e. I'll lose all my non-jailbreak settings, email settings, contacts, game high scores, etc)???
  • sounds crazy i know, but it's just the nature of the beast. i've been doing this for a while now and the best results have always came after a restore as new w/o backup. of course you do not have to do it but peace of mind can also go a long way
  • YOu can use apps like appbackup and aptbackup in order to save game data and jailbreak settings. They save the bundles on your computer. Once you restore, you drop them back.
    aptbackup = jailbreak settings
    appbackup = game and app data
    The only other thing you'd need ot worry about it saving pictures from your camera roll on your computer, and your contacts. I use mobileme so my contacts are always a non-issue. if you use google sync, your wont be either. (or save them on your computer) there are tons of ways of backing up contacts.
  • just to be sure i understand, Allyson, all else (except for contacts & pics) will be backed up if i use appbackup & aptbackup? like notes, email settings, texts, screen layout? where is the data from appbackup & aptbackup stored so it can be dropped back in if we're wiping the phone clean and not restoring from a backup? thanks.
  • On my 3GS l ALWAYS restored from backup that was previously jailbroken. From 3.1.2 all the way to 4.0. ZERO problems. And used aptbackup to restore my jailbroken apps and settings. Same with my iPhone 4 from 4.0 incrementally to 4.2.1 restored from the previous jailbroken backup. ZERO PROBLEMS. Maybe I'm just lucky. But I don't install a bunch of jailbreak crap either. No themes, carrier name mods, I don't use winterboard stuff after several bad experiences on my 3G.
  • You probably are not using anything that would save bits of a jailbreak in your backup then. 90% of people do.
  • Just use ibackupbot after restoring as a new phone. It allows you to restore individual parts of a backup, like contacts and text messages etc. No headache at all. And no nasty jailbreak remnants.
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  • Thanks for the tips... But a friend of mine added a repo to my phone, can you tellme a bit more about the (untrusted) repository's?
  • There is nothing wrong with adding repositories as long as the source hosting them is one you trust. Ask your friend when exactly he added the repo for and what it contains.
  • I've restored every jailbroken iPhone I've had from jailbroken backups every time. Never had any issues.
    Perhaps the people having these problems are the same people who use cases because they claim to constantly drop their phones. :roll:
  • or maybe you aren't installing things that would leave remnants in a backup. your situation is not everyone's. i have seen tons of people have issues after restoring from a previously jailbroken back-up. Even as far as a springboard that just continually crashes.
    As a side note, there's really no need to tack a rude comment on the end of every single comment you leave on a post.
  • This looks like a list of all the reasons why not to jailbreak. All that pain and headache just to figure out why the springboard crashes. No thanks.
  • Yeah... well, something has to destroy the time you save using SBSettings and Lockinfo. :lol:
    It's like those people who turn around and drive an extra five miles to avoid a train... that'll be long gone anyway, by the time they've avoided it.
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  • I got a problem with the Ipod touch Notes app, whenever i try to send an email spring board crashes, i already tried extracting the notes from the iphone but i dont know how? anyone know how?
  • I upgraded my phone and let my son use my old iphone as an ipod...it was jailbroken, but i only used that for the ringtones. he downloaded an app that let him text for free, it was working fine and then he got an "unhappy iphone" (have no clue what that was about) alert, and the springboard crashed. The next day it worked for a bit then just turned off... wont turn on wont charge... just dead!!! any words of wisdom?? hope for recovery?? im not very technically inclined.. need help!!
  • “You restored from a backup that was previously jailbroken”
    Okay, I have a 3GS on 4.3.3, 6.15.00, TMobile. Springboard crashes constantly....and I did try and set it up using my backup of my JBed 3G in itunes - just to get my apps back. Is that exactly what you are saying causes problems?
  • MY IPHONE 3G KEEP GOING CRASH MESSAGE SPRING BORAD AND I CANT CONNECT WIFI, I HOPE THE REASON IS RECENTLY UPDATE CYDIA AFTER THAT I HAVE PROBLEM , PLEASE HELP ME TO FIX WIFI AND SPRING BORD PROB. PHONE RUNNING 4.0 VERSION
  • I have 4.2.6 stuck in safe mode springboard crashed no access to fix anything.., it's been more than two weeks and I can't figure out how to uninstall any apps because I no longer have safari I have no Internet access from my iPhone. I can't seem to get an answer.. My phone will not reboot restart respring or anything.. My phone doesn't work mail safari texts my whole first Page is gone.. And many others. I have a few games is all.., how can I uninstall ?? I'm new of course I've already. Tried to backup and restore with iTunes to no avail plz help
  • every time there is an application redirect to safari... the spring board crashes.. please tell me why does that happen and how can i get out of it?
    I recently jailbroke my phone using green poison and the crash started happening after that..... Need help.
  • @ Hrlygal trying going to firmware on google normally 1st one is okay and get say 4.2.1 and then do install make sure u save the 4.2.1 on a place u know on ur compouter best place really is desktop and do it that way i no u will have to re jail break but that way u will be gd look on internet how to put iphone into dfu etc ur gd to go
  • if anyone need any more help send me a msg to email below ok if i can help i will get back to u asap ok all the best and happy jailbreaking lol
    iPhone 4 16 gig " Lustrous Black" Fimware 4.2.1
  • Hi I have the iphone 3g and ever since jailbreaking it for Tmobile, I cannot click on links to the internet outside of Safari. Do you know how I can diagnose the problem? I didnt notice it after installing anything - i think it was just after jailbreaking. I had a really hard time jailbreaking this phone for some reason. I work with a bunch of IT - very tech savy people and about 6 people tried and couldnt unlock it. Finally someone did but now this happens. Do you think my only option is to start over because if I have to do that, I may never get it unlocked again (so i would just live with the springboard crashes). Do you know any Cydia apps or other apps that dont play nice together that i could check and remove one or the other?
  • Hey i'm having a problem, everything's working fine, until i am forced to restart springboard, when i do so and when it restarts springboard, there is nothing on the menu apart from newsstand, nothing else, no other icons, not even safari etc. How do i fix this?
  • Why can't I ever "transfer purchased" in iTunes?
    Of course they're not really purchased but stolen apps. So, do I've to reinstall everything once I update my software all over again? -.-
  • i need help
  • i need help