A large number of iPhone and iPad users have problems with links not working in Safari, Mail, or Messages after upgrading their devices to iOS 9.3 and in some cases iOS 9.2.1 as well. In the worst case scenario, not only do the links fail, but the Safari browser crashes when an attempt is made to access a URL in one of the affected applications.
Update:Apple released iOS 9.3.1 to fix the link blocking bug, which is now available for download. This is highly recommended for updating and installing rather than following the troubleshooting steps below.
We originally described this issue last week in our in-depth troubleshooting guide for iOS 9.3. However, since the problem affects a surprisingly large number of users, we wanted to fix this particular issue right away and offer some workarounds until Apple released a patch for Solve the problem. As mentioned earlier, the second version of iOS 9.3 Build 13E237 doesn’t fix the disconnection issue, it just fixes the activation error that some users had.
And yes, Apple is aware of the link blocking issue in iOS 9.3 (and iOS 9.2.1) and is reportedly working on a software fix, although the timeframe for a release is unknown. We’ll make sure to release when a legitimate software fix is released by Apple.
Fixed an issue with iOS 9.3 links being blocked
Table and article summary
The final attempt at solving the Link saga is a song and dance routine, but a good number of users have reported success using this method described below. You will need a computer with the latest version of iTunes and a USB cable. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Mac or a Windows PC, both will work. This is an odd routine, but according to mixed online reports, it can work for some users:
- Remove the Booking.com app from your device if it is installed. This app is apparently one of the problematic apps causing the problem
- Activate airplane mode
- Go to the multitasking screen and slide them into each app until they close
- Connect the iOS device to the computer with a USB cable and launch iTunes
- Turn off the iPhone or iPad by pressing and holding the power button
- Wait about 15 seconds and turn the iPhone / iPad back on
- (but NOT the device we just removed it from)
- In iTunes, sync the Booking.gom application you just downloaded on the iOS device by selecting it in the iTunes application, going to the Apps section, find Booking.com and installing it on the problematic iOS device
- Launch the Booking.com app on the iOS device, double-click the home button and swipe up to exit the app. Then run Safari on iOS and follow the same procedure to exit
- Remove booking.com from the iOS device
- Switch off the AirPlane mode
- Launch Safari and tap some links. Now they should work just fine without blocking the app
This ridiculous series of steps is a merging of detailed comments on InfiniteDiaries, what bencollier.net based on a post on Twitter, user resolutions offered in our own comment section, and what was found on Apple discussion forums, and … .. despite how absurd it seems that it really works. Some have reported that there is time sensitivity to the matter, in other words you have to complete the steps relatively quickly or it will not work and you will have to try again but your mileage may vary.
Workarounds for iOS 9.3 link blocking problem
While the above method seems to work for many users, it is complicated while it is. The other two options available are workarounds:
- Use an alternative iOS web browser like Chrome or Yahoo
- Wait for Apple to release a new software update to fix the problem with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Unfortunately, none of these approaches help address the link blocking problem in emails or messages as they only apply to web browsers.
Obviously, if your update to iOS 9.3 went smoothly, this doesn’t apply to you. If this fixes your link issues but you’re having other issues, check out our troubleshooting guide for iOS 9.3 which covers many of the other common issues with the unusually buggy version of iOS 9.3 software.
Fixed a crash bug with iOS Web Link in Safari, Messages, and Email with a song and dance routine
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