Apple Safari crashes: Mystery bug floors browser on iOS and Macs

Safari is crashing on iPhones and Macs when users attempt to search from the address bar.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The workaround suggests the crashes may be linked to Safari suggestions or Search Engine Suggestions.

Image: Apple

Safari is crashing on Macs and iPhones when people use the browser to search directly from the address bar.

The mystery bug surfaced on Wednesday with multiple reports on Reddit, Twitter and Apple's support pages of Safari crashing when the address bar is used to search.

Exactly what's causing the browser to crash is not yet known, However, the workaround suggests it may be linked to Safari suggestions, a feature that autofills suggested search queries, or Search Engine Suggestions.

Both are dependent on Apple's servers, yet Apple's System Status page does not currently indicate outages affecting any of its services.

Users are reporting that switching off the features will stop the browser from crashing when typing in the URL bar. The same workaround appears to function for Safari on iOS and OS X.

Users can implement the workaround on iOS devices by finding Safari in settings and toggling off 'Safari Suggestions'. The equivalent setting in Safari on Macs is under Preferences and Search.

ZDNet was able to confirm the issue on two iPhones at its London offices but we've not been able to replicate the problem on Safari on a Mac and iPhone 6 in Sweden. The other reported workaround is to enable private browsing.

The browser crashes do not appear to be related to Apple's recent security updates to OS X, Safari and iOS a little over a week ago, since users on non-current versions of each are reporting the same problems.

ZDNet has asked Apple about the cause of the reported Safari problems and will update the story if it receives a response.

For the moment, all that the company has said is that it is possible some devices will cache data for several hours and that clearing the cache should resolve the issues.

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