Riding in Zwift is a really nice experience unless you get confronted with some technical issues. Zwift can crash! We probably all have experienced it once or twice, it can freeze and stop responding. Let’s see how to solve these issues and understand what’s causing them.
Why does Zwift keep crashing?
Generally, if Zwift crashes, freezes, or keeps stopping, it means that the device running it is not powerful enough or too old. But first, make sure to run the latest version of Zwift and do not use a VPN, proxy server, or firewall, and make sure your device meets Zwift’s minimum requirements.
Indeed, Zwift is responsible to develop an app that doesn’t crash; but computer configurations are numerous and every setup cannot be anticipated. It’s also a question of compatibility between the environment and the app. This means that you need to run the latest updates on Zwift, your operation system, your graphic drivers, etc. But you also need to have a decent internet connection, a stable Bluetooth or ANT+ signal, etc. Indeed, a crash can come from Zwift but also from the environment around it.
What to do first if Zwift keeps crashing?
- Restart your device completely
- Make sure your device runs on the latest version of its operating system, update if necessary
- Make sure you have installed the latest version of Zwift app, update if necessary
- Make sure you are not running Zwift from a VPN, Proxy server and that your internet connection doesn’t drop – you can try connecting directly to the modem to confirm (by LAN).
- Check that your device is compatible with Zwift minimum requirements
If you are using a laptop, make sure you run the game with the computer plugged in. Indeed, the graphic processor may be restricted while running on battery in order to save battery life.
Why is Zwift not working on my laptop?
If Zwift is not running on your laptop, it generally means that your laptop doesn’t have the required specs to run the game. It is essential that your laptop has at least 8Gb of RAM and a recent CPU.
Please refer to Zwift minimum requirements to understand the needs. In my experience, the minimum requirements are a bit just and you won’t have an enjoyable experience in the game. First, you will be limited in terms of game resolution and details. It will also probably generate some lagging, or even crashes when joining events with lots of people. The graphics will struggle to be displayed correctly. I find this particularly true with the recent updates of the game.
|OS||Microsoft® Windows 10 64bit or higher, |
or macOS® 10.12
|Current versions of Microsoft® Windows 64bit, |
|CPU||Intel® Core™ i3 or AMD Athlon™||Intel® Core™ i7 or AMD Ryzen™|
|GPU||1GB dedicated GPU, or embedded Intel® HD 4000 |
or AMD R5
|2GB Radeon™ R9 290 series, |
or NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 970
|Hard Drive||4GB of free space||4GB of free space|
|Bluetooth||Version 4.0 or greater||Version 4.0 or greater|
This is why I think you should aim for a better configuration than the “minimum”. As with many video games, the minimum configuration is only the requirement to be able to launch the game. Having a game crash when you are just above the minimum configuration is not unusual.
This is why you should aim for the “optimal” settings. Zwift recommends having a dedicated graphics card and not an integrated one. From my experience – and people around me – running Zwift with an integrated graphics card is the main reason Zwift crashes or has lags, at least on Windows. Having more than 8 Gb of RAM would not make a big difference but having a dedicated graphics card will. Please note that an Intel i7 is not necessary, but having an i5 will definitely help over an i3.
How to know if I have an integrated graphics card?
Zwift will struggle to run with an integrated graphics card. The most common ones are:
- Intel HD Graphics
- Intel UHD Graphics
- Intel Iris Graphics
- AMD Rizen / Vega
If your computer has one of the graphics cards listed above, then that is the likely reason the game doesn’t run properly.
Please note that you can have one of the cards listed above + an additional dedicated graphics card (what we call GPUs). In that case, the game should run properly since the graphics will be run by this dedicated GPU.
Computers that do not run Zwift properly
Below is a list of popular computers that are known to struggle with Zwift:
- Lenovo Flex 5
- Lenovo Ideapad 3
- Chromebooks (most do not even start the game)
- Surface laptop 4 (issue with intel 11th gen)
- Laptops with intel 10th and 11th gen processor*
- Some Acer Aspire 5 models
As a general rule, any laptop below $600 will probably struggle to run Zwift. Strangely, recent computers with 10th and 11th-generation intel processors (i3, i5, i7) tend to crash. This is a known issue that hopefully might be solved by a software update someday (finger crossed).
In general, a gaming laptop is recommended to run Zwift. The Acer Nitro 5 AN515, usually between $650 and $850, is a great choice thanks to an affordable but powerful RTX 3050. The cheaper MSI GF63 (around $650), is also a good choice to run Zwift. Recent apple products are also known to have a smooth experience.
If your computer is not powerful enough, please keep reading till the end of this article where I provide a solution for under $150.
*(and no dedicated graphics card)
Common issues on Zwift & how to solve them
If none of the solutions mentioned above worked, here are further paths to explore.
Zwift freezing or stopping
If Zwift freezes during your ride, or the app stops without reason, it can be difficult to know the reason. I recommend you use Zwiftalizer to check the log file that was recorded at the moment of the crash. This will give you an idea of what’s the problem (internet connection, RAM, video card, etc.)
For instance, this is an extract of analyses you will get from Zwiftalizer. On the page, there are many more graphs that check for connection errors with Zwift servers, Bluetooth and ANT+ disconnections, latencies…
If everything looks OK, and your laptop OS is up-to-date but Zwift keeps freezing or crashing while you ride, then try updating your GPU drivers manually from the manufacturer’s website.
Graphics display error
If you get a weird display when riding (like in the picture below), where the text is all messed up, it’s a problem with the graphics. It’s most likely that the video card on your laptop is too weak. To run Zwift, it is recommended to have a dedicated graphics card and not an integrated one.
Before changing your graphics card or your laptop, try reducing the game resolution in Zwift settings to 576p. This might sort the issue, else you need to use another device to run Zwift.
What alternative do I have if Zwift keeps crashing?
A cheap and approved solution to run Zwift without crashing is to buy an Apple TV. Preferably buy the 4k model to have better graphics, but a regular one – 4th or 5th generation – will also do the work.
Then simply install the Zwift app from the store and you are good to go! Please note that the Apple TV will only recognize two sensors (Bluetooth only). If you want to pair more than 2 sensors, the solution is to use the Zwift companion app on your smartphone simultaneously with the Apple TV.