iPhone Safari crashing during searches for select three-letter terms
Safari for iPhone has been crashing for some users that enter three-letter terms like "bes," "wal," or "tar" into the address bar, which may be caused by a server-side Google problem.
Multiple reports from users describe an odd bug that causes Safari to crash every time specific search terms are entered. These terms appear to be the first letters of a retail chain like Best Buy or Target, but beyond that, no pattern has emerged.
The bug isn't reproducible by everyone, so it appears to be some kind of server-side issue for those affected. The bug occurs by opening Safari and typing "wal," "bes," or "tar" into the address bar. Safari crashes in some instances without further input, or when a space is entered.
Users reporting the issue appear to be from California and Florida. It also seems that they are using the Google search engine for Safari on iPhone.
@Apple Safari bug* #bug #safari crashes when searching with the words "BES" when safari suggestions is turned on— Nick_Henny (@NspireAviation) November 14, 2022
Apple hasn't responded to the bug or provided a workaround. Users that encounter the issue can install a different browser or use an alternative search engine to prevent Safari from crashing until fix for the issue is fully rolled out.
Since this appears to be a server-side issue, it will be up to Apple or Google to implement the fix. As of 2:26 PM ET, the problem seems to be slowly fixing itself. It's not clear if it was an Apple- or Google-related problem, nor are either talking.