Seeing a "Could not start Messenger" error on Android? Here's how to avoid it

Seeing a
Like pretty much all operating systems, Android is prone to bugs and errors. Fortunately, most of these are ironed out quickly, thanks to regular software updates. We say most of these, and not all of them, because some (rare) bugs stay with us longer than they should.

One of these lingering bugs is responsible for making the Google Messenger app crash when you try to access it from the recent apps list (assuming, of course, that the app was already open). When the app crashes, Android displays a "Could not start Messenger" error message at the bottom of the screen, and you have to re-open Messenger if you want to use it again (and you will want to use it again).

While we haven't noticed exactly when this bug started to become bothersome, folks complaining about it over at the official Google Nexus forum say that it's been around since Android Lollipop (late 2014). The weirdest part is that the bug can force close not just Google Messenger, but also Facebook Messenger - in exactly the same way, though these are totally different apps. We can replicate the error on Nexus smartphones, and it's been reported that it's affecting Samsung Galaxy handsets, too (and maybe devices made by other companies as well).

Right now, it looks like there's no proper fix to this bug, but there is a way to avoid it. Whenever you want to leave Google Messenger or Facebook Messenger open in the recent apps list, use your phone's home button, not the back button to return to the home screen. It seems that the error shows up only when the back button is being used, but everything works just fine if you tap the home button.   

Have you encountered this "Could not start Messenger" error on your Android device?

P.S.: Having the latest version of Android (6.0.1 with the April security patch), or the latest versions of Google Messenger and Facebook Messenger does not help when it comes to this bug.


more info: Google Nexus Forum

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13 Comments

1. QuasarExod

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

Haven't encountered.

2. sagemda

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 20, 2012

i did once but with skype

3. Obádárà

Posts: 217; Member since: Nov 02, 2015

... I'VE NOT SEEN THIS, NEITHER HAS ANYONE I KNOW REPORTED THIS IN NIGERIA!...

5. Cyberchum

Posts: 1009; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

And how many Nigerians are using a Nexus device, which is just about the only affected brand?

4. tyrionTheWise unregistered

I am seeing this for atleast one year on multiple devices with facebook messenger. And there is no fix. Returning using home button lets that s**tty app run in background and abuse the resources. I better kill it completely.

6. QuasarExod

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

How to kill it completely??

7. tyrionTheWise unregistered

It can't be killed completely I guess. One process starts again anyway. But killing it from recent apps closes the app and consumes less battery.

13. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Uninstall it is the best death for Facebook. :-)

8. samgsam15

Posts: 50; Member since: May 09, 2014

Happened with me, I uninstalled the bloody fb messenger app.

9. the_s2

Posts: 239; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Wow! I just saw this error couple minutes ago, turned my computer on, opened phonearena.com and voila here it is!

11. Florin.T

Posts: 311; Member since: Dec 16, 2013

We're meant to be together. Yours truly, PhoneArena

10. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

I get this bug almost daily on my AT&T SG6 on 5.1.1 and it is very annoying. But placing the app on the home screen just means one more tap and its back open again...

12. MoBility

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 18, 2016

I experienced the issue about two weeks ago and it actually affected my emails I couldn't open my emails on my phone. I am using OPPO FIND 7, but FB messenger was ok.

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