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Apple pushes yet another version of iOS 9.3 to fix activation bug

The latest update fixes a bug that affects older iPhones and iPads. But wait, there's more! Apple still has to resolve a separate issue that could cause your device to crash.

Apple is trying to deal with hiccups in the latest version of the software that runs iPhones and iPads.

Out since March 21, iOS 9.3 arrived with a glitch that prevented owners of older iPhones and iPads from activating their devices. Last week, Apple released a second version of iOS 9.3(build number 13E236) to fix the issue on the iPad 2, according to AppleInsider. And on Monday, Apple rolled out a third version of iOS 9.3 (build number 13E5237) to address the same issue on the iPhone 5S and earlier iPhones and the iPad Air and earlier iPads.

Even though updates of established products such as Apple's mobile software go through a testing period, they can still carry bugs that surface once the final release is downloaded by millions of people. Such glitches not only frustrate users but call into question a company's ability to scrutinize and vet the software. In 2014, Apple ran into several bumps with iOS 8, which earned a reputation as unstable and forced the company to roll out one fix after another.

Apple has posted two support documents explaining what to do if you can't activate your device when trying to install version 9.3. One document covers the iPhone 5S and earlier phones and the iPad Air and earlier iPads, while the other document covers the iPad 2.

And Apple still isn't finished fixing bugs. Another glitch affecting not just iOS 9.3 but also iOS 9.2.1 is causing the Safari browser, Mail and other apps to freeze or crash when you tap on a link. Users have been complaining of this issue both on the Apple Support Twitter account and in the Apple Support Communities.

"My links in safari and mail were not opening on ios 9.2.1," said one user on Apple's support forums. "So I updated to ios 9.3 today and the problem still persists. I am unable to open links from mail and safari."

Another person said: "After update to IOS 9.3, when I try to open any links from mail, WhatsApp, Wechat, Notes on Safari, the system will hang and need to close the app manually."

One suggested workaround, at least for Safari, is to disable JavaScript for the browser, which you can do as follows: Tap on Settings, then tap the entry for Safari. scroll to the bottom of screen and tap the entry for Advanced. On the Advanced screen, turn off the option for JavaScript.

The problem is related to the universal links that Apple introduced with iOS 9. Such links can directly open an app rather than having to open its associated webpage in Safari.

The good news is that Apple is on the case.

"We are aware of this issue, and we will release a fix in a software update soon," an Apple spokeswoman said.

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