0x8BADF00D and others crashes

From Wikipedia:

A crash (or system crash) in computing is an event in which a computer or a program (such as a software application or an operating system) ceases to function properly, often exiting after encountering errors. The program responsible may appear to freeze or hang until a crash reporting service documents details of the crash. If the program is a critical part of the operating system kernel, the entire computer may crash, often resulting in a fatal system error. […]

List of Objective-C common crash code signals:

An EXC_BAD_ACCESS occurs whenever you try to access or send a message to a deallocated object. The most common cause of EXC_BAD_ACCESS is when you initialize a variable in one of your initializer methods but use the wrong ownership qualifier, which results in deallocation of your object.
Debugging EXC_BAD_ACCESS is made easy with the NSZombiesEnabledenvironment variable that you found out about in the last section.


A signal segment fault (SIGSEGV) is a more serious issue that the operating system raises. It occurs when there is a hardware failure or when you try to access a memory address that cannot be read or when you try to write to a protected address.
The first case, a hardware failure, is uncommon. When you try to read data stored in RAM and the RAM hardware at that location is faulty, you get a SIGSEGV. But more often than not, a SIGSEGV occurs for the latter two reasons. By default, code pages are protected from being written into and data pages are protected from being executed. When one of your pointers in your application points to a code page and tries to alter the value pointed to, you get a SIGSEGV. You also get a SIGSEGV when you try to read the value of a pointer that was initialized to a garbage value pointing to an address that is not a valid memory location.
SIGSEGV faults are more tedious to debug, and the most common case reason a SIGSEGV happens is an incorrect typecast. Avoid hacking around with pointers or trying to a read a private data structure by advancing the pointer manually. When you do that and don’t advance the pointer to take care of the memory alignment or padding, you get a SIGSEGV.


A signal bus (SIGBUS) error is a kind of bad memory access where the memory you tried to access is an invalid memory address. That is, the address pointed to is not a physical memory address at all (it could be the address of one of the hardware chips). Both SIGSEGV and SIGBUS are subtypes of EXC_BAD_ACCESS.


SIGTRAP stands for signal trap. This is not really a crash signal. It’s sent when the processor executes a trap instruction. The LLDB debugger usually handles this signal and stops at a specified breakpoint. If you get a SIGTRAP for no apparent reason, a clean build will usually fix it.


Your application receives an EXC_ARITHMETIC when you attempt a division by zero. This should be a straightforward fix.


SIGILL stands for SIGNAL ILLEGAL INSTRUCTION. This happens when you try to execute an illegal instruction on the processor. You execute an illegal instruction when you’re trying to pass a function pointer to another function, but for one reason or other, the function pointer is corrupted and is pointing to a deallocated memory or a data segment. Sometimes you get an EXC_BAD_INSTRUCTION instead of SIGILL, and though both are synonymous, EXC_* are machine-independent equivalents of this signal.


SIGABRT stands for SIGNAL ABORT. This is a more controlled crash where the operating system has detected a condition that is not safe and asks the process to perform cleanup if any is needed. There is no one silver bullet to help you debug the underlying error for this signal. Frameworks like cocos2d or UIKit often call the C function abort (which in turn sends this signal) when certain preconditions are not met or when something really bad happens. When a SIGABRT occurs, the console usually has a wealth of information about what went wrong. Since it’s a controlled crash, you can print the backtrace by typing bt into the LLDB console.

Watchdog Timeout

This is normally distinguishable because of the error code 0x8badf00d. (Programmers, too, have a sense of humor — this is read as Ate Bad Food). On iOS, this happens mostly when you block the main thread with a synchronous networking call. For that reason, don’t ever do a synchronous networking call.

Signals defined in signal.h

[code lang=”java” autolinks=”false” collapse=”false” firstline=”1″ gutter=”true” htmlscript=”false” light=”false” padlinenumbers=”false” smarttabs=”true” tabsize=”4″ toolbar=”false”]#define SIGHUP 1 /* hangup */
#define SIGINT 2 /* interrupt */
#define SIGQUIT 3 /* quit */
#define SIGILL 4 /* illegal instruction (not reset when caught) */
#define SIGTRAP 5 /* trace trap (not reset when caught) */
#define SIGABRT 6 /* abort() */
#define SIGPOLL 7 /* pollable event ([XSR] generated, not supported) */
#define SIGIOT SIGABRT /* compatibility */
#define SIGEMT 7 /* EMT instruction */
#define SIGFPE 8 /* floating point exception */
#define SIGKILL 9 /* kill (cannot be caught or ignored) */
#define SIGBUS 10 /* bus error */
#define SIGSEGV 11 /* segmentation violation */
#define SIGSYS 12 /* bad argument to system call */
#define SIGPIPE 13 /* write on a pipe with no one to read it */
#define SIGALRM 14 /* alarm clock */
#define SIGTERM 15 /* software termination signal from kill */
#define SIGURG 16 /* urgent condition on IO channel */
#define SIGSTOP 17 /* sendable stop signal not from tty */
#define SIGTSTP 18 /* stop signal from tty */
#define SIGCONT 19 /* continue a stopped process */
#define SIGCHLD 20 /* to parent on child stop or exit */
#define SIGTTIN 21 /* to readers pgrp upon background tty read */
#define SIGTTOU 22 /* like TTIN for output if (tp->t_local&LTOSTOP) */
#define SIGIO 23 /* input/output possible signal */
#define SIGXCPU 24 /* exceeded CPU time limit */
#define SIGXFSZ 25 /* exceeded file size limit */
#define SIGVTALRM 26 /* virtual time alarm */
#define SIGPROF 27 /* profiling time alarm */
#define SIGWINCH 28 /* window size changes */
#define SIGINFO 29 /* information request */
#define SIGUSR1 30 /* user defined signal 1 */
#define SIGUSR2 31 /* user defined signal 2 */[/code]

Handling unhandled exceptions and signals

When an application crashes on the iPhone, it disappears without telling the user what happened. However, it is possible to add exception and signal handling to your applications so that an error message can be displayed to the user or you can save changes. It is even possible to try to recover from this situation without crashing at all.

Here a beautiful class to handle unhandled crash exception on iOS:

Handling exceptions using breakpoints

See last article for this:

Thanks to:
– “iOS 6 Programming, Pushing the Limits: Advanced Application Development for Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch” – Buy from Amazon: http://goo.gl/JONU5H
– Matt Gallagher ( cocoawithlove ).
– albertopasca.it


Alberto Pasca

Software engineer @ Pirelli & C. S.p.A. with a strong passion for mobile  development, security, and connected things.