Fix iOS Web Link Crashing Bug in Safari, Messages, Mail with a Song & Dance Routine
A large number of iPhone and iPad users are having problems with links not working in Safari, Mail, or Messages after updating their devices to iOS 9.3, and in some cases with iOS 9.2.1 as well. In the worst situations, not only do tapping on links not work, but the Safari browser actually crashes when a URL is attempted to be accessed in one of the impacted apps.
Update: Apple has released iOS 9.3.1 to fix the link crashing bug, available to download now. This is highly recommended to update and install rather than using the troubleshooting steps below.
We originally detailed this issue last week in our extensive troubleshooting iOS 9.3 problems guide, but as the problem has grown to impact a surprisingly large volume of users we wanted to directly address this specific matter and offer a few workarounds for the interim until Apple releases a patch to resolve the problem. As mentioned, the second build release 13E237 of iOS 9.3 does not address the link crash problem, it only addresses the activation error that some users experienced.
And yes, Apple is aware of the link crashing problem in iOS 9.3 (and iOS 9.2.1) and supposedly working on a software fix, though there is no known timeline for a release. We’ll be sure post when a legitimate software fix has been released from Apple.
Fixing the iOS 9.3 Link Crashing Problem
The latest attempt in resolving the link saga is quite a song and dance routine, but a good number of users have reported success with this method outlined below. You will need a computer with the latest version of iTunes, and a USB cable. It does not matter if it’s a Mac or Windows PC, either will work. This is an odd routine, but according to mixed reports online it may work for some users:
- Delete the “Booking.com” app from your device if it is installed – this app is apparently one of the problematic apps that causes the issue to begin with
- Turn on Airplane Mode
- Quit all apps that are running on the iOS 9.3 device by going to the multitasking screen and swiping up on every app until they are closed
- Plug the iOS device into the computer with a USB cable and launch iTunes
- Turn the iPhone or / iPad OFF by holding down the Power button
- Wait about 15 seconds, then turn the iPhone/iPad back on again
- Download the Booking.com to iTunes on the computer (but NOT the device we just removed it from)
- From iTunes, sync the Booking.gom app you just downloaded to the iOS device by selecting it from the iTunes app, going to the Apps section, locating Booking.com and installing it to the problematic iOS device
- Launch the Booking.com app on the iOS device, then force quit it by double-tapping the Home button and swiping up to exit the app, then launch Safari in iOS and do the same quit procedure
- Delete booking.com from the iOS device
- Turn off AirPlane mode
- Launch Safari and try tapping a few links, they should work fine now without crashing the app
This admittedly somewhat ridiculous set of steps is an amalgamation of comments on InfiniteDiaries, what bencollier.net detailed based on a twitter post, user resolutions offered in our own comments section, and what has been found on the Apple Discussion Boards, and…. despite it’s absurdity it appears to actually work. Some have reported there is time sensitivity to the matter, in other words you have to complete the steps reasonably fast, otherwise it doesn’t work and you have to try again, but your mileage may vary.
Workarounds for the iOS 9.3 Link Crashing Problem
While the above method apparently works for many users, it’s admittedly complicated. The other two options available are workarounds:
- Use an alternate iOS web browser, like Chrome or Yahoo
- Wait for Apple to issue a new software update to address the problem for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Unfortunately neither of those approaches will help fix the link crashing problem on Mail or Messages, as they only apply to the web browsers.
If your update to iOS 9.3 went without a hitch then obviously none of this applies to you. If this fixed your link issues but you’re having other problems, take look at our troubleshooting iOS 9.3 problems guide, which covers many of the other common problems encountered with the unusually buggy iOS 9.3 software release.