A Safari browser crash bug is impacting Apple users all around the world this morning. It comes just one day after some pranksters started circulating a hoax URL that caused Safari to crash and significantly heated up Apple devices by apparently overloading the system memory and forcing a reboot. This time around though the problem is much more serious as it has the potential to impact every Safari user.
Safari browser crash relating to search suggestions
The Guardian reports that an iOS developer said the issue is related to the search suggestions feature. Whenever users put a search term in the browser’s address bar, that text goes to servers which then offer autocomplete options according to the search terms, including popular sites or search queries and additional information.
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The media outlet suggests that the Safari browser crash problem is actually originating in those servers. However, Apple isn’t currently owning up to any problems on its System Status Page. The iPhone maker is promising to explain what’s happening although hasn’t released any official comment about the issue. Because it has just appeared now, it seems to be unrelated to iOS 9.2.1, which Apple pushed out earlier this month.
If the Safari browser crash problem was related to the update, it probably would have appeared earlier. Also all operating systems appear to be having the same problem. Users are spreading the word over social media, including on Reddit, Apple’s forums and Twitter.
How to fix the Safari browser crash bug—three options
All you need to do to fix the bug is disable the search suggestions feature. Another way to fix it is to switch to private mode in Safari until Apple can get the problem fixed. In order to utilize this option, users simple open a new tab in Safari. You’ll know you’re in private browsing mode because the browser’s background will be black. A third way to get around the Safari browser crash bug is to just use another browser, like Google’s Chrome, which you will have to download from the App Store if you haven’t already done so.
Not all iOS and Mac users are affected, but according to The Verge, this might be because some have their device set to cache their search suggestions locally. Another possibility is that their devices can still connect with Apple’s servers through their DNS cache. Also the problem appears to be affecting Safari version 10.11.3.
Apple hit by technical issues
Today’s problem with Safari comes within days of another issue that caused the browser to crash, but this time the issue has nothing to do with clicking on a URL, which caused a bunch of text to be auto-generated and overwhelm Safari, causing it to crash and the device to reboot. The problem we reported yesterday was harmless but annoying and easily solved with a reboot of the device. Today’s issue is also harmless and annoying but easily solved using the fixes listed above, but it’s interesting that two problems with Safari have popped up in the same week.
Apple has faced many more serious issues than either of the two problems that popped up this week. At least the Safari problems do not appear to have caused security issues or vulnerabilities. A few months ago, Macs were hit by a security glitch caused by an expired security certificate that Apple was using to verify apps. Users had to reinstall some of their software after Apple tried to move from the older standard to the newer and more secure one. Some of the apps didn’t support the newer standard, which resulted in users having to reinstall some software.
Typically any time Apple rolls out a new version of its operating systems, there are some bugs that need to be fixed, but this time around, no major OS updates have happened within the last few days. Still, it probably means that the company changed something as bugs don’t just happen for no reason.