How to fix iOS 9.x Safari/Mail Link Bug [updated]

· · 121 Comments

Apple published iOS 9.3.1, which should fix all of the issues.

There have been numerous threads and articles about the iOS link bug, with many of them posting false information. This bug is not limited to iOS 9.3 nor does it have much to do with the update itself. It appears to be caused by the Shared Web Content Daemon, which goes into a crash loop after the Booking.com app tried to register too many universal links. Perhaps other apps are to blame too. I won’t bore you with all the details and get to the point: the method I wrote up below fixed the issue on my iPhone 6S Plus.

If you miss or modify a step, it might not work!

Recipe

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC or Mac via Lightning or 30-pin cable (not Wi-Fi) . If necessary, accept the ‘Trust this Computer’ message on your device.
  2. Launch iTunes (if not already launched).
  3. Turn on Airplane mode.
  4. Uninstall the Booking.com app if you still have it installed. If not, then go to the next step — this should not be an issue.
  5. On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings → Safari.
  6. Set your Search Engine to Bing or DDG.
  7. Disable the following:
    • Search Engine Suggestions.
    • Safari Suggestions.
    • Quick Website Search.
    • Block pop-ups.
    • Fraudulent Website Warning.
    • Advanced → Javascript.
  8. Disable all enabled Content Blockers (eg. 1Blocker — this is my preferred one).
  9. Leave your device connected via Lightning cable and in Airplane mode.
  10. Turn your iPhone/iPad off by holding the Sleep/Wake button, then sliding the on-screen slider.
  11. Turn it back on by holding the Sleep/Wake button. Keep Airplane mode on!
  12. Go into iTunes and install the Booking.com app — select your device then go to the App tab and press install.
  13. Press Sync, to actually install the app.
  14. Keep Airplane mode on!
  15. Run the Booking.com app. When asked if you want to accept notifications and/or GPS access, do not grant them access! (Just say no.)
  16. Double-click the Home button to launch the multitasking screen and kill Booking.com by swiping up on it.
  17. Uninstall the Booking.com app.
  18. Turn off Airplane mode.
  19. Turn on everything you disabled or changed in steps 6-8.
  20. Smile (or read below if it didn’t work).

This worked perfectly for me. Let me know if it helped you too.

Many thanks to Rosyna for the original method.


Update — 29/03/2016, 13:17

Clarified step 1 — you need to connect via cable, not Wi-Fi, to your Mac/PC.


Update — 29/03/2016, 18:07

Ben Collier has posted an updated recipe — 2.0 if you will — which might help those of you who didn’t luck out on mine. Just follow this link to his site.


Update — 31/03/2016, 19:00

iOS 9.3.1 is out — it should fix any issues which you might have.

iOS 9.3.1 Is Out — It Fixes the Safari / Mail / Messages Link Bug

 

Chcesz zwrócić mi na coś uwagę lub skomentować? Zapraszam na @morid1n.

121 Comments

  1. Strange I have booking app, but don’t have this problem.

    • Not everyone does.

    • It only affects people that had their iOS device download the association data for the week ending March 28th, when booking.com replaced the bad file with a good file.

      If yours didn’t get updated in that bad week, you wouldn’t see the bug.

  2. Pingback: Unable To Open Links In Safari, Mail Or Messages On IOS 9.3 | Ben Collier

  3. You can skip all the weird blocker, search engine, and Safari steps, they don’t invoke swcd.

    I had forgotten when I originally fixed it on my iOS device that I had it connected to iTunes on my Mac.

    • I actually tried skipping them, and it did not work then. Coincidence probably.

    • I monitored the logs using Xcode when doing it initially and swcd hadn’t been crashing, it’s a delicate timing issue.

    • Hmm. You could be onto something here…

    • Thanks, this actually helped me, after I’ve tried 21 steps above twice without success.

      These are the steps I used:
      1. Unload all apps from multitasking screen.
      2. Connect to iTunes using cable.
      3. Turn Airplane mode on.
      4. Turn device off.
      5. Turn device on.
      6. Enter passcode.
      7. Retry connection in iTunes.
      8. Delete Booking.com app.
      9. Turn Airplane mode off.
      10. Make sure Safari link are working again.

      Steps 5-8 have to be performed quickly before the swcd will enter crash loop.

    • Tried this 4-5 times and doesn’t work.

    • Took a couple of tries, but it works!

  4. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me, either.

  5. It did work for Safari links – still no luck for links in Messages :(

  6. Pingback: Apple już pracuje nad poprawką błędu przy otwieraniu linku w iOS 9. Nadejdzie jak najszybciej – tapps.pl

  7. Hi, when my phone is in Aeroplane mode, iTunes on my Macbook doesn’t recognise it, therefore I can’t sync. Any suggestions?

  8. Pingback: How To Fix IOS 9.3’s Broken Safari Links | Ben Collier

  9. Sigh. Didn’t work for me – tried it three times and very carefully followed instructions. It might be other applications besides booking.com cause this problem but who knows which one – too many on my phone to delete. Fact is, booking.com was one I added recently so it made sense that it might be the culprit. Oh well, in the interim using Chrome and setting apps that let me use that as my default browser. Something apple needs to add to Settings!

  10. I have the LinkBug on three devices and just tried to fix it on my iPad Air 2. I did follow the (very nicely clear) instructions exactly.
    The Good News: my iPad seems to have no new problems.
    The Bad News: links in Safari and Mail still do not work.
    I’ll look here for new ideas to try… and hopefully a good fix from Apple!

  11. Pingback: Apple Says a Fix on the Way for iOS 9 Weblink Bug | MacTrast

  12. “14. Go into iTunes and install the Booking.com app, then sync changes for it to actually install.”
    This step would force me to sync the iPhone with iTunes and re-download 10+ GB of apps. It is possible to skip it and reinstall the Booking.com from the phone instead? Thanks

  13. didn’t work for me. :( still can’t use neither safari nor mail links…

    • safari links ok. but mail and also outlook links don’t work. also in terms of providing some information, before this case i installed “google maps” and “figure” apps.

  14. Pingback: One possible fix for the iOS 9.x Safari/Mail link bug

  15. affected on both my iPad air 2 and iPhone 6. rolled iPhone back to 9.2 and is working. could i restore the iPad back to a fresh 9.3 without the booking app or any apps and not have a problem? I tried your suggested work-around and it didn’t take.

    • It all depends if your backup has the fecked Booking.com association list – if not, they you should be fine, otherwise you’ll be back to square one.

  16. didn’t work for me :((( iphone 5S 9.3

  17. I just did this for my aunt’s iPhone 6. 64gb. It worked just as you said. Wow!!! Thank you so much..God bless you..

  18. I’ve tried this several times on an iPad Air and an iPhone 6 Plus and it has worked on neither :(

  19. Dude, you should provide the source of your information, something like I did in my post last night when I provided the same solution.

  20. Pingback: iOS 9.3 e crash dei link, Apple rilascerà presto un aggiornamento - macitynet.it

  21. Pingback: Ben Collier’s Recipe To Fix The Safari/Mail Link Bug | Infinite Diaries

  22. Pingback: Apple、iOS 9のSafari/Mailリンククラッシュバグを間もなく修正するかも

  23. Everyone, please try Ben Colliers method if you’ve still got the bug!

    https://bencollier.net/2016/03/how-to-fix-ios-9-3s-broken-safari-links/

  24. I have an iPhone 5. Never had the Booking app but have link errors in Mail, Safari, and Message. Turning off JavaScript makes clicking on Safari links work but holding them down still hangs the app. Will this work for me?

  25. Pingback: How to Fix iOS 9.3 Broken Safari Links; Apple Says Update Coming | iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource

  26. Pingback: Apple iOS 9.3: activation lock and web link crashes plague users – Global Top News | Latest & Current News – Weather, Sports.

  27. What is the file/cache-directory to purge? Where is it in the IOS filesystem?
    Can it be purged simply on a Developer-enabled or a jailbroken device?

  28. Think it’s not working on 9.2.1… only on 9.3

  29. Pingback: Apple knows about iOS 9 web link issue, has a fix coming soon | Lindauer Mac Consulting

  30. Nope, didn’t work. Not a fix. Neither did Ben Collier’s.

  31. Pingback: Apple’s Working on a Fix for the iOS 9.3 Link Bug You Might Be Dealing With – Someone call Ganon. Gotta fix a Link problem. … What? – Sourced 24

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  37. Pingback: iOS 9.3 Bugs & 5 Ways to Fix Them – Technology Nights

  38. This is not ios 9.3 or 9.2.1 specific. I’m on 9.2 and still got the issue because unfortunately installed booking.com on Sunday. Neither of the methods this o Ben Collier worked for me :(

    Just backing up my photos and doing a restore from an old restore.

  39. Neither of the two methods worked for the iOS 9.3 on my iPhone 6s plus……

  40. Pingback: Apple iOS 9.3: activation lock and web link crashes plague users | Unión Europea Noticias

  41. It didn’t work for me… Any additional help??? Please….

    • Same here. Tried both links many times (even with additional steps of dis-connect wifi from PC), none of them worked. I have a 9.2 (not 9.2.1 or 9.3), but unfortunately I installed booking.com app a week ago, caused this whole pain. Can we count on the fix from Apple a few days later hopefully?

    • Anybody knows if apple will help us?

    • They’re working on a fix. Patience required.

  42. Pingback: iOS 9.3のフリーズ問題、Appleが“間もなく”修正するとコメント | degitalccess

  43. Pingback: Workaround: So lassen sich Links in Safari unter iOS 9.3 wieder öffnen » Apfeltalk Magazin

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  45. Thanks for the detailed write up. Very glad it has helped a lot of people so far.

    Unfortunately for me, I tried this 7 times in a space of 3 hours, still no luck. Also tried Ben Colliers’ method a number of times with no luck. I have nearly 200 apps installed, possible there are other apps that trigger the bug? I read that Twitter had a app association file that was several megabytes.

  46. didnt work

  47. Pingback: Broken iPhone links frustrate thousands as Apple scrambles to fix problem - The Guardian - Apple iPhones

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  50. It didnt work :(

  51. Pingback: Broken iPhone links frustrate thousands as Apple scrambles to fix problem – The Guardian | Deals to find

  52. Did not work for me. The problem has an intermittent aspect to it, so sometimes it seems like the problem is fixed, but not really.

  53. Tried 4 times this and Ben Collier’s recipe.. no good

  54. OK! I have 5s. I did the 20 steps, but nothing changed. Safari doesan’t work, Chrome too, and the links in the e-mail are wrong too. :(

  55. I installed booking.com in my iPhone last week and not links worked any more, I deleted a bunch of things yesterday including the Booking app but and tried restoring the internet settings but nothing improved.

  56. hello my iphone 6 is working fine after i upgrade but my ipad air 2 have some problem to my safari is working fine but still my mail is freeze when i click please help me out ….

  57. Guys — if you can’t get the recipes to work, you’ll have to wait for Apple to come out with a fix or until someone figures something out.

    You can also try to use the Private feature of Safari on iOS — it worked for me before I fixed it.

  58. Pingback: iOS9.3 Safari link fix – Scottish SAF

  59. I fixed my iPad just now by first backing up all data, resetting the iPad, erasing all data. I then set up the iPad as a “new iPad” and synced my photos and music using icloud (I didn’t do a restore from the back up in icloud) and re-entered all of my email accounts, which in turn updated all of my contacts. I then took this as an opportunity to cull the number of apps on my ipad (I really had too many anyway!) and free up some memory – I then only downloaded the apps (from the App Store) that I use frequently, and left Booking.com off the list for now, even if it is fixed ( I do not want to go through this pain again). This is a painful way to solve the problem because you have to re-input all of your passwords for all of your apps and email again, but you do end up with an iPad that works, just like new – safari is now working perfectly and so are all of my hyperlinks in mail. This was my last resort solution after trying all of the fixes mentioned above multiple times for four hours last night without achieving the desired result.

  60. I followed both procesess with no success.

  61. Pingback: ste williams – Apple promises iOS fix “soon” for crashes in Safari and other apps

  62. I don’t know how you figured this out but helped :) Thanks Wojtek, let me know how to help you with this beer :D

  63. Pingback: IOS 9.3.1 Is Out — It Fixes The Safari / Mail / Messages Link Bug | Infinite Diaries

  64. Pingback: L’insupportable bug qu’Apple ne parvient pas à corriger | News logiciels

  65. can’t download OTA. Requires WiFi connection.

  66. Pingback: Bug iOS dans la version 9.3 : plantage de Safari, entre autres

  67. Is there a way to fix this on a jailbroken iphone without updating to 9.3.1 ??

  68. Pingback: Apple iOS 9.3 Actualización - IEEnews Spain

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