Help! Safari keeps crashing

Stop Apple's Safari web browser from crashing with our guide to fixing common web browser problems. Updated 4 April 2016 with the iOS 9.3.1 update.

by


  • Safari Suggestions bug 1
  • Crash Safari 2
  • Too many tabs? 3
  • Software Update 4
  • Clear website data 5
  • Clear out the cookies 6
  • Remove Flash 7
  • Extensions 8
  • Single extensions 9
  • Virus scanner 10
  • Try Firefox 11
  • Delete preferences 12
  • More stories
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Step 1 of 12: Why is Safari crashing? Safari bug causes iOS & Mac to crash - here's how to fix it

On 27 January 2016, many iOS and Mac users found that their Safari browser would crash every time they tried to tap the URL bar, or sometimes a new tab, completely closing the Safari app and forcing them to launch it again, only to experience the same issue continuously.

The problem is reportedly being caused by Apple's Safari Suggestions, which is the feature that offers up automatically completed URLs as you type in the URL bar. These autocompletes come from Apple's server, so even if you haven't updated your browser or device recently, you could still experience the issue. 

There's currently no official fix for the issue but there is a temporary workaround that'll stop Safari from crashing on your iPad or iPhone. You'll need to go to Settings > Safari and turn off Safari Suggestions. 

On your Mac you can use Private Browsing mode by clicking File > New Private Window.

On 28 January, Apple seemed to have fixed the issue, but with the release of iOS 9.3 on 21 March 2016, a lot of users have reported the same problem - as seen in this video. It seems that users across all different devices running on iOS 9.3 are experiencing the problem. Thankfully on 4 April 2016, Apple released iOS 9.3.1 to address the latest 'clicking on Safari links crashed my iPhone' bug.

We also suggest trying to switch off JavaScript in Safari through Settings > Safari > Advanced, in order to try and get a temporary fix for the problem. Some reported it as a workaround fix, whilst others are still having problems. You can always use another browser, such as Chrome or Puffin Web Browser.

Read on if you're looking for information about the Crash Safari bug.

You might also like: iPhone 7 release date rumours

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On 27 January 2016, many iOS and Mac users found that their Safari browser would crash every time they tried to tap the URL bar, or sometimes a new tab, completely closing the Safari app and forcing them to launch it again, only to experience the same issue continuously.

The problem is reportedly being caused by Apple's Safari Suggestions, which is the feature that offers up automatically completed URLs as you type in the URL bar. These autocompletes come from Apple's server, so even if you haven't updated your browser or device recently, you could still experience the issue. 

There's currently no official fix for the issue but there is a temporary workaround that'll stop Safari from crashing on your iPad or iPhone. You'll need to go to Settings > Safari and turn off Safari Suggestions. 

On your Mac you can use Private Browsing mode by clicking File > New Private Window.

On 28 January, Apple seemed to have fixed the issue, but with the release of iOS 9.3 on 21 March 2016, a lot of users have reported the same problem - as seen in this video. It seems that users across all different devices running on iOS 9.3 are experiencing the problem. Thankfully on 4 April 2016, Apple released iOS 9.3.1 to address the latest 'clicking on Safari links crashed my iPhone' bug.

We also suggest trying to switch off JavaScript in Safari through Settings > Safari > Advanced, in order to try and get a temporary fix for the problem. Some reported it as a workaround fix, whilst others are still having problems. You can always use another browser, such as Chrome or Puffin Web Browser.

Read on if you're looking for information about the Crash Safari bug.

You might also like: iPhone 7 release date rumours

 

Step 2 of 12: There's a website that can crash your iPhone, Android, Mac & PC

A new bug that's sweeping the web through social media and plaguing users with prankster friends causes your browser on any device or computer to crash with just one link.

Visiting CrashSafari.com will crash your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC. Some clever but mean person (22-year-old Matthew Bryant, a security expert from San Fran, apparently) has come up with a complicated string of code that will overload the browser and make it freeze and then crash within seconds.

As far as we're aware, CrashSafari.com works on any browser, not just Safari, so if you click the link it's likely that you're going to run into problems, hence why people are sharing the link (using shorteners like Bit.ly or Tiny URL) with their friends via text messages and on Facebook and Twitter to trick them.

 

Step 3 of 12: Too many tabs: close some of them

Is your version of Safari crashing in OS X? Or is Safari running so slowly on your Mac that you can't use it properly? In this feature we're going to look at what to do when Apple's Safari web browser isn't running properly.

The first thing to check is how many windows or tabs you have open. A common problem is that people keep opening tabs in Safari. Each tab or window takes up a little space in memory. Have too many tabs open and Safari starts fighting for resources with other apps, and it  ends up running far more slowly than it should.

So close some tabs and windows in Safari. Hold down the Option key and choose File > Close Other Tabs. Now every page other than the one you are looking at will be closed. If you have too many windows open choose File > Close All Windows.

See also:

How to force quit on a Mac, close programs that aren't responding

Apple issues OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 update to solve WiFi woes

How to use the Safari web browser on the Mac

 

Step 4 of 12: Check with Software Update to see if it fixes the problem

Web browsers are updated far more frequently than other pieces of software. Apple regularly updates Safari to address security concerns, so open App Store and click Update to see if a new edition is available. That may fix the problem of Safari running slowly.

There are dozens of extensions available for Safari. Read more about the new Extensions for Safari here. 

Here's how to use OS X Yosemite Extensions and The top 10 Yosemite Extensions

 

Step 5 of 12: Clear website data to see if Safari runs better

When you visit a web page in Safari it stores a copy of it in a cache. This copy enables it load the web page faster next time you visit. One way to clear the cache is to get rid of all your website data, including your web browsing history. Click Safari > Clear History and Website Data. Now set the the Clear option to All History and click Clear History.

 

Step 6 of 12: Clear out the cookies if Safari gets stuck

Cookies are small files that websites store in your browser to track users. They are another piece of data that could be causing problems. To get rid of them click Safari > Preferences > Privacy and Remove All Website Data.

 

Step 7 of 12: Get rid of Flash to get Safari running better

Flash is software used to play video and other interactive content. Many websites have switched to HTML 5, which is less problematic. We think you'll be happier if you get rid of Flash. Adobe has a handy Uninstall Flash Player for Mac OS guide that you can follow.

 

Step 8 of 12: Turn off extensions

Extensions (often called plug-ins on other browsers) provide additional functionality to Safari, but they can cause problems. Choose Safari > Preferences > Extensions to see all the extensions on your system. Try setting Extensions to Off and see if this helps.

 

Step 9 of 12: Finding a problem extension

If Safari works better with all extensions turned off, you should go through your extensions one at a time to see which one is causing problems. Open Safari > Preferences > Extensions and set Extensions to On. Now use the Enable check-box next to each extension and turn them all off. Turn them on one at a time to see which one is problematic, and leave that one set Off until an update is provided.

 

Step 10 of 12: Turn off Virus scanners

Virus scanners pay close attention to Safari, because it's the Mac's main portal to the internet. It should allow you to get on fine, but if you have a virus scanner try turning it off to see if that helps. If that helps try switching to a different virus program.

 

Step 11 of 12: Try Firefox to fix single unruly sites

If you find Safari isn't working for just one website, then try using a different browser. Some websites, especially old sites, struggle with providing support for a variety of browsers. Firefox tends to be the most compatible and you can use it to visit that one site.

 

Step 12 of 12: Delete the preferences

If you've tried everything else and Safari still doesn't work you can delete the preferences from your Home/Library folder. Quit Safari and choose File > Go To Folder in Finder. Enter ~/Library/Safari/ into the Go To Folder Window (don't miss the tilde '~' at the start) and click Go. This opens your preferences folder. Drag everything in this folder to Trash and restart Safari. When you restart Safari it will recreate these files as if you have just performed a clean installation.

How to use the Safari web browser on the Mac | How to clear website history and cookies in Safari

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