Prevent Android “process is bad” error

The process is bad error does not seem to be very well documented, and I have only been able to find workarounds. I am instead interested in the cause of this error and how to prevent it from happening, and not how to manually handle it through rebooting, relaunching app, etc.

My particular application uses an AlarmManager to launch an IntentService which runs for ~10s every ~30s. This is called on creation of the application:

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  • Intent serviceIntent = new Intent(appContext, MyService.class);
        serviceIntent.putExtra("service_extra", extra);
        launchService = PendingIntent.getService(
                System.currentTimeMillis() + interval,

    This works as expected most of the time. However, very occasionally the service will fail to launch for an indefinite period, sometimes hours at a time. The following error is seen every ~30s, so I know my alarms are attempting to launch the IntentService as scheduled, but the attempt fails with a process is bad error.

    Unable to launch app for service Intent { (has extras) }: process is bad

    This is fixed by simply reopening the app. But I need to know how to prevent it! The purpose of this service is to run in the background while activities are stopped or destroyed, so it must prevent this error without any user interaction or workaround.

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