I just started playing Fallout Shelter yesterday. I'm going to be working away from civilization for two weeks and will not have the time nor power nor inclination to play a phone game. I would like to not come back to a shelter full of skeletons.

What can I do to mitigate the damage to my shelter after two weeks with no Overseer? Can I pause or slow the game? Should I recall all my explorers?

  • 3
    This may not apply to you as you have only just started but if your shelter has 100-200 dwellers, when you restart the game after only a day it loads for a very long time while calculating all the events that happened when the game was off. If you don't play for two weeks who knows? It might take 30 minutes before you can play the game again. Be patient, if you leave the game running for long enough you'll get back into your vault.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 7:19
  • @CJDennis I had about 30-40 dwellers and it did not take much longer than normal to load. About 10-30 seconds.
    – Schwern
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 19:47
  • That's right. When you only have a few dwellers the game loads quickly. I've had a vault of 200 dwellers take a few minutes to load after being idle for only 24 hours.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 13:38

4 Answers 4


While the other answers are accurate, I actually have done this.

I shut down fallout shelter and did not reopen it for 4 weeks. I left my explorers in the wilderness, and some survived! screenshot of explorer with 2 week return timer

They were not anything fancy, just some level 1s with terrible stats that I sent out to die. But they somehow survived. I am bringing them back to the vault and renaming them Bear Grylls and Les Stroud.

I also had some dead bodies lying around that did not decay after 24 hours.

My theory for all of this is that the game does not actually run in the background, it just saves timestamps, then calculates what happened the next time you open up the app. That means that even though the explorers were dead when I opened the game back up, they had only died a few moments ago rather than several weeks ago, so the 24 hour body decay hadn't completed yet. It's kind of a shrodinger's cat kind of thing, where the dwellers are both dead and not dead until you start the app back up. But I digress.

I noticed that the survivors didn't have any negative events in their logs when I started back up. This might be a bug or something that the devs never tested because waiting a week to run a test case is a bit of a challenge.

In any case, I would not recommend that you have any explorers out when you shut down for two weeks. I don't know if my experience was a fluke, or happened because I upgraded the app before I started up again, or what. The others have mentioned this in more depth, but here is the quick list:

  • Recall your explorers
    • Or leave them out there FOR SCIENCE (and let us know the results)
  • Top off resources
    • Make sure you have some wiggle room between your total resource capacity and the vault's required resources (vertical line on the resource bar) so that all resources are satisfied after the app takes its little bite when it shuts down. Otherwise your vault will be a mess with damage/radiation/lower power when you get back
  • Make sure any dead bodies are cleaned up
    • You don't want everyone to be unhappy on your return
  • Put dwellers in training
    • They might as well use the downtime to gain a stat

Your vault will not suffer from fires, raider/deathclaws/molerat/rad roach attacks, or other events while the app is shut down. Events should still queue up for explorers, unless your guys hit the same crazy survival bug that mine did. The safer thing is to recall them.

  • 22
    I will rename a dweller "For Science" and send them on their way!
    – Schwern
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 22:17
  • 8
    "My theory for all of this is that the game does not actually run in the background, it just saves timestamps, then calculates what happened the next time you open up the app." - Just a note, this is what all mobile games do, not just this one. On mobile, there is no guarantee the OS will allow background apps to actually run in the background at all, and in fact it can and will close background apps at any time, to free resources. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 22:46
  • 9
    Waiting a week to run a test case IS far too long, but setting timestamps to a week ago works great! ;)
    – Calrion
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 3:58
  • 3
    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft that's true for offline games only, obviously. In Online games the events/actions might be calculated on the server.
    – Josef
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 13:35
  • 1
    @turbo they will equip gear as they find it. I sent him out with fists and a vault suit. Afrer all, I expected him to die. Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 15:07

@GodEmperorDune suggested in their answer that I send out some explorers "for science" to see what happened. Here are the results.

For Science! was sent into the wasteland August 27th, 4:08pm with a weapon and clothing. Case Control was sent August 27th, 4:02pm with no weapons nor clothing.

For Science! enters the wasteland Case Control enters the wasteland

The game was closed and not re-opened until September 10th, about 10:45pm for a total of 14 days 6 hours 40 minutes. During this period my phone was turned on and off several times, ran out of battery several times, and had intermittent cell and Internet access. It did not change time zones.

I came back to find them both dead.

RIP For Science! RIP Case Control

There are some curious anomalies. They were both killed by a Super Mutant (one to a normal and one to an Overlord). Both leveled up three times. Both logs last about 10 hours, the same within a minute. Both were only dead 7 days 10 hours. Both could be revived for 1000 caps, which I presume is some sort of maximum.

They were out for 14 days, their logs only lasted 10 hours, yet they were only dead for 7 and a half days. Where did the missing week go? Did the madness of the wasteland grip them so even good bookkeeping abandoned them?!

One thing is answered, dead explorers can be revived even after they've been dead for a week... at least if you don't open the game. How long they stay around while playing is an experiment for another time.

In order to satisfy the ethics committee, both explorers were revived and are now making their long journey back to the vault.

  • 5
    The log timer resets every day, so only hour:minute is shown. The "Dead 7d 10h 6m" means that they died after spending 7 days, 10 hours, and six minutes in the wasteland. They have been rotting for the other 6 days, 20 hours, and 34 minutes. But hey, SCIENCE ACHIEVED and you picked up some uncommon gear. Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 16:24

You only need to recall your explorers. They'll die in the wilderness if you don't. When you're not playing the game you vault only continues to consume resources for a short while, and no incidents, like fires or raider attacks can occur. You'll come back to the game much like you left it.

One other thing to be aware of is that you only have 24 hours to resurrect dead dwellers. If you have any dead dwellers lying around the vault or in the wilderness you should bring them back to life before you leave.

One tip: If you have training rooms, it would be a good idea to fill them up with dwellers with the highest stat for that room. Timers continue to run while you're not playing the game, but they won't reset until you start playing again and click on the dwellers/rooms.

  • Do I have to exit to the main menu? Or is it enough to not have the game open?
    – Schwern
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:25
  • 1
    @Schwern I don't think it matters, but you might as well just exit the game completely.
    – user86571
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:29
  • @Schwern. If you've got an older Android device, or a low-end one, I'd definitely recommend exiting the game. You will experience less crashes that way, and your device won't be entirely unusable during that time.
    – Nolonar
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:41
  • @TimS. That's actually not quite true. The way memory management works on a phone is fundamentally different than it would on, say, a computer. Assuming that the game is suspended entirely it does not matter if it's still running or not.
    – Seiyria
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:45
  • 1
    My device has no problem with it running in the background. This is drifting off topic.
    – Schwern
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 21:46

The game will effectively pause itself after all of the existing timers have elapsed. If you have 2 minutes left on your power, for example, the game will "run for 2 minutes" then will stop. Hunger, thirst, etc., will all be paused at that point, no raiders, radroach attacks, or anything of that nature once all of the existing timers are at zero.

That does not, however, include dwellers exploring the wasteland. They will continue to explore until they die, or you recall them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .