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Is iOS 9.3 Apple's worst ever update? First it bricks iThings, now Safari is busted

What's a web browser without working links?

Apple gave unlucky loyal fans more headaches this weekend when the latest version of iOS caused the Safari browser to crash.

Lots of people say their iPhones are no longer able to open links in Safari or Mail without the browser freezing.

"Never had any problems with my iPhone 6S. Just upgraded to iOS 9.3 without any issues," wrote user mor1s on the Apple support forums. "After the upgrade, I can't click links when searching something on Google in Safari or clicking a link in the Mail, the apps just freeze."

"I'm having the same issue in every app that has a link to open Safari," noted Apple user Slipstream85. "I was in the beta and this never happened it was more stable then the public release."

"I have the same problem with mail, Safari, and messages. Links work with the gmail app. Links work in Chrome but only with a long click to get the option to open in a new tab," added user ncfirechief. "It appears this has happened before with 9.2.1 but I could not find an answer that fixed the problem. I do not think it started until 24 hours after the update."

Apple has yet to provide any information on when a fix for this latest stability problem might be released. It's possible using another app, such as Chrome, may be a viable workaround.

This comes after Apple pushed out an update to address another flaw in iOS 9.3 that was leaving some owners of iPhone 5s and older iPads and iPods unable to use their devices thanks to an error that left the iPad unable to connect with Apple's activation servers.

Apple has posted steps iPad 2 owners can take to fix their bricked tablets by connecting the device to a Mac or PC with iTunes and running a software restore. Some Reg readers have also been able to restore their iThings with other measures.

While some users could opt not to install the update until Apple can manage to cobble together an iOS 9.3 build that won't break its own products, the 9.3 update includes not just performance and software updates, but also plugs some particularly nasty security holes that earlier versions leave exposed. Apple says there are a billion or so active iOS devices out there, so some failures are bound to happen sooner or later. ®

Updated to add

A possible unofficial fix for Safari, Mail and Messages links is here.

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