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A beta release is, by definition, and unfinished product. They're not always perfect - that's kind of the point. So it is with the latest beta version of Chrome for Android: many users are reporting that the latest build available on the Play Store is unexpectedly and repeatedly causing their devices to reboot. Users on the official Chrome blog and the Chromium code hub are citing the problem on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4.

2013-09-16 12.32.52

Google developers stated late last week that they were able to duplicate the issue. It's fairly easy and it absolutely breaks the program and, to a lesser extent, the usability of the device. Open Chrome Beta, turn off the screen, wait about half a minute, and the phone or tablet will reboot like an ought-three Gateway running Windows Vista. At least one Google developer said that the Chrome team is aware of the problem - presumably a fix is inbound for the next Chrome Beta update.

In the meantime, there's a simple solution for users who are affected: switch back to the stable release of Chrome for Android, or just deny the update from the Play Store if you haven't updated it already. It's a good thing we've got a spare, huh?

Source: Google Code - Thanks, tcmean!

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • haimn

    Thanks! good to know.
    My device rebooted randomly and I didn't know what cause this.
    after I disable chrome beta the reboots are gone.

    • CrazyPaladin

      Yes I had that too and I blamed recent cm nightlies. Sorry cm devs

  • Pitel
  • skitchbeatz

    It seems like an app shouldn't be able to cause device reboots.

    • GreenyO


      • Xhelas

        Native code may crash a process but not the whole system. Maybe on Windows 95 but on linux based devices it should not happen. Should it?

        • Sir_Brizz

          Native code can do anything. IT just depends on how far down it goes. In this case, it's an Android library that has the bug. These run at ring0 I think, therefore if they don't handle segmentation faults themselves, the system will typically reboot.

          • Matthew Fry

            Which puts the problem well below application-level code. i.e. Zargh is right. They accidentally triggered a bug in 4.3. Google has been blaming us Nexus 10 owners' applications for the random reboots and so far we've identified an OS GPS access bug and a graphics driver bug causing reboots.

          • Sir_Brizz

            Not sure what I got downvoted for :p

    • Hans Pedersen

      Any native code can crash a system, otherwise it wouldn't really be native code. :)

      • hakan

        This isn't Windows 9x. At most, a broken app should crash alone and it should never take the whole system with it.

        • Hans Pedersen

          This is one example of how easy it is to crash a system with one seemingly minor line-error:


          The whole operating crashed because of a HTML tag.

          Native code is accessing the core of the system, of course the app can crash the system if there is a bug in that app.

          • Floss

            The system crashed because of a issue with the root system, not just because the app was doing something wrong. All modern systems are hardened to not allow apps to crash the system. But, being just code themselves, they all don't do a perfect job of it. That does not mean that they should be able to.

          • Hans Pedersen

            Yeah, that's the theory behind every un-crashable system. And of course it's a bug, no one has ever insinuated anything else. This is one of the main reasons as to why they have beta programs. It did what it was supposed to do; crash on a non-critical phone. Though, they are (re-)introducing more native code support to Chrome. Just to make the OS based on it more relevant in a bigger picture. Let's just hope that this path doesn't mean we're going back to more unstable systems like we had before everything was sandboxed.

      • Pierre Gardin

        Really? How do you do that in Linux, then?

        • Hans Pedersen

          Android is Linux.

          • mgamerz

            If an app crashes on linux in native code it segfaults (typically).

            The OS should safeguard against this, just like windows C code and linux/unix code does.

            This would imply that one of the libraries on Android has a bug in it that crashes and is never caught, killing all the parent processes till a reboot happens.

          • Pierre Gardin

            Did I say it wasn't? No.

          • Hans Pedersen

            You implied that it wasn't, that's all.
            Congratulations that you've barely seen a software crash in your life, we all envy you. :)

          • Pierre Gardin

            "You implied that it wasn't, that's all."

            I didn't make any statement, I just asked a question.
            You can't get a logical consequence without any premises.


          • Hans Pedersen

            Instead of trying to play clever after you've asked an incomplete question, maybe you should learn to ask questions correctly in the future? I bet it will work much better than assuming everybody reads your mind and understands the other half of the question that you didn't bother writing? =D

          • Guest

            There was no "other half of the question", period. Now I have to block you to avoid losing my time again.

          • pfmiller

            Most of the reboots in Android aren't really reboots, they are just the runtime crashing and restarting. It looks like a reboot because the runtime loading is what displays the normal boot logo.

            Anyway, it is absolutely true that an app should *never* be able to bring down your OS. When it happens the OS is to blame for the failure, not the app.

    • Zargh

      That's because Chrome Beta isn't "causing" the reboots, its just triggering a bug in 4.3. Chrome beta isn't to blame here, Android is. If you look on the original issue a Chrome team member said they'd filed a bug on the Android teams internal tracker (which we can't access): https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=286378#c14

      So until the Android team/Qualcomm get their act together, all the Chrome team can do is find a workaround.

      The title of this article casts the blame on the wrong side and should really be updated. 4.3 also causes apps using the clipboard to crash, but that doesn't mean the apps are to blame.

  • zissou

    thank you android police, i was starting to get really worried about the health of my n4, weight off my shoulders!

  • Pongpol Dolmint


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  • sourabh

    i use many apps that are still in beta,all of them are rock steady, but this one is causing reboots!!

  • andyr354

    Phew. My third nexus 7 rebooted three times yesterday. Had me worried.

  • Matthew Kirby

    Hey, that happened to me yesterday! I don't use Chrome but I still get sent updates. I don't think your fix would have worked for me since I only had about ten seconds between reboots. Eventually I had to do a factory reset to restore sanity.

  • praveen

    Whew.. So this was it? I was suspecting the rom since ive been flashing nightlies. Anyone has backup apk of previous version? Ive disabled it for now..

  • Shitiz Garg

    And I was thinking it's my custom kernel/ROMs. Thanks a lot!

  • Kenny Griffin

    This was happening on my new Nexus 7. Like the article said, I went back to the stable version and all is well now. Oddly enough, I don't have this problem on my S3 running 4.3.

  • Gnex

    Chrome for android is trash, it really is the worst browser I've used.

    • Layman76

      Who shat in your Wheaties?

      • Gnex

        Everyone :(

        ...But it's Google's official browser. It should be the best out there, and it really isn't. The features are nice, but it's difficult to enoy them when everything is so damn laggy.

        • Hans Pedersen

          I think it's trash, too. Though, I always revert back to it after experimenting with other Android browsers, because the rest are actually worse.
          I guess we're just expecting mobile browsers to work as good as desktop browsers. Unfortunately it appears this is easier said than done.

          • Gnex

            I kind of agree. Most third party browsers just feel like bloat. But if you're rooted, you can install the AOSP browser.

  • Sir_Brizz

    I've been seeing this the past couple of days on my new N7. I was obsessing a bit over Minion Rush so I thought maybe Gameloft was to blame :p Not that unreasonable...

  • anezarati

    i've been noticing this for weeks on my n7 and had no idea what was causing it! i was just about to do a factory reset on it too.

  • Paul Klinger

    Would have been good to know before I flashed a new ROM to try to fix this today...

  • Bleakvision

    Ha! So that is the cause, would have never figured that out. Thanks AP!

  • Chris Sanner

    is THAT what's causing that. geez...

  • CharlesTF
  • Heidi Flores

    Ok, I now understand why its doing it but I can't fix it....I have HTC Vivid and it keeps rebooting when anything even passes Chrome. I opened a 'cleaner' and it starts scanning and as soon as it hits Chrome, my phone reboots. I went to setting to force stop, it rebooted, I tried to uninstall from my laptop on play store but can't, PLZ HELP!