How to Fix iOS 9.3 Broken Safari Links; Apple Says Update Coming

Over the weekend it was reported an iOS 9.3 bug was crashing web links users tried to open within Safari, Mail and Messages.

Apple has now released a statement on the issue, reports 9to5Mac, saying: “We are aware of this issue, and we will release a fix in a software update soon.”

If you want to try a temporary workaround in the meantime, Ben Collier has written a detailed guide (via Wojtek Pietrusiewicz) on how to fix these broken links.

You will need to hook up your iOS device to your Mac or PC and sync with iTunes to perform this fix.

Here are the brief steps to fix broken Safari links in iOS 9.3

1. Delete the Booking.com app from your iOS device.

2. Enable Airplane Mode (Settings > Airplane Mode > ON; or swipe up from Control Center)

3. Plug your iOS device into your computer and launch iTunes. Turn your device off, then back on.

4. Ensure you have the Booking.com app on your computer by downloading it here. Make sure Airplane mode is still on.

5. Within iTunes, select your iOS device, change to the Apps tab, search for the Booking.com app and click Install…then once that’s done, click Sync.

Itunes 9 3 safari fix

6. Once the sync completes, launch the Booking.com app on your iOS device, then force close it (double tap Home button, swipe up on the app).

7. Force close Safari using the same method.

8. Disable Airplane mode. Open Safari—your links should work again, and should also be functioning in other apps such as Mail and Messages.

Collier explains you may need to try this fix a few times for it to work, to ensure caches clear. Reading from the comments on his site, this fix seems to have worked for the few that have tried it.

Of course, another workaround is to use a third party browser such as Chrome to open your links.

There’s no word on when a supposed iOS 9.3.1 release will be out, but expect it to come soon. Yesterday, Apple re-released iOS 9.3 for older devices to fix another bug related to activation issues.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Léon

    Here’s again what TechCrunch said, this time without hyperlinks because that seems to put the post in ‘waiting for the moderation’ approval limbo:

    “It looks like this issue is related to Universal Links. With iOS 9, Apple introduced Universal Links, a brand new way to handle links with native apps. App developers, such as YouTube, can register domain names to open web links directly into an app, bypassing Safari. That’s why when you click on a Youtube link, iOS opens the YouTube app instead of loading a web page in Safari. This is a nifty feature, except when app developers abuse it…
    …Booking[.]com associates its app with all sorts of domains — too many domains to be precise. With 2.4MB worth of domain-name-to-deep-link entries, Safari and other apps crash when iOS checks links against its Universal Link database because this database is too big.”

  • chriskayTO

    Tried these steps – now links work within Safari, however in Mail they do not. Hope a permanent fix is not far off.