Debug your project

Debug native crashes

If you're struggling to understand a native crash dump or tombstone, Debugging Native Android Platform Code is a good introduction.

For a fuller catalog of common types of crash and how to investigate them, see Diagnosing Native Crashes.

The ndk-stack tool can help symbolize your crashes. You can debug crashes in Android Studio as described in the general Debug your app documentation. If you prefer to use the command-line, ndk-gdb lets you attach either gdb or lldb from your shell.

Provide apps direct access to tombstone traces

Starting in Android 12 (API level 31), you can access your app's native crash tombstone as a protocol buffer through the ApplicationExitInfo.getTraceInputStream() method. The protocol buffer is serialized using this schema. Previously, the only way to get access to this information was through the Android Debug Bridge (adb).

Here’s an example of how to implement this in your app:

ActivityManager activityManager: ActivityManager = getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
MutableList<ApplicationExitInfo> exitReasons = activityManager.getHistoricalProcessExitReasons(/* packageName = */ null, /* pid = */ 0, /* maxNum = */ 5);
for (ApplicationExitInfo aei: exitReasons) {
    if (aei.getReason() == REASON_CRASH_NATIVE) {
        // Get the tombstone input stream.
        InputStream trace = aei.getTraceInputStream();
        // The tombstone parser built with protoc uses the tombstone schema, then parses the trace.
        Tombstone tombstone = Tombstone.parseFrom(trace);

Debug native memory issues

Address Sanitizer (HWASan/ASan)

HWAddress Sanitizer (HWASan) and Address Sanitizer (ASan) are similar to Valgrind, but significantly faster and much better supported on Android.

These are your best option for debugging memory errors on Android.

Malloc debug

See Malloc Debug and Native Memory Tracking using libc Callbacks for a thorough description of the C library's built-in options for debugging native memory issues.

Malloc hooks

If you want to build your own tools, Android's libc also supports intercepting all allocation/free calls that happen during program execution. See the malloc_hooks documentation for usage instructions.

Malloc statistics

Android supports the mallinfo(3) and malloc_info(3) extensions to <malloc.h>.

The malloc_info functionality is available in Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and higher and its XML schema is documented in Bionic's malloc.h header.


For CPU profiling of native code, you can use Simpleperf.