Although iPhones and iPads support other apps to reach the Web, Safari remains the most favored and frequently-used browser for iOS users. Troubleshooting on Safari can be frustrating, especially if its issues prevent you from searching for a solution online. Here are a few common reasons why Safari may not be working on your iPhone and how to fix the problems.
Turn on Cellular Data for Safari App
If you’ve been exploring your iPhone’s data-saving features, which let you specify which apps have access to your phone’s cellular data, then there’s a chance that you turned off cellular data for the Safari app. That means Safari will work when you’re connected to Wi-Fi but not to cellular data. (Try running Safari over Wi-Fi to test this.)
If that’s the case, then to turn cellular data back on for Safari, go to “Settings -> Cellular,” and then in the “Use Cellular Data For” list, make sure the slider next to Safari is in the green “On” position.
Disable Experimental Features
You may not know about this, but Safari for the iPhone has a whole load of experimental features that you can disable and enable as you please.
The problem with these, as the name suggests, is that they are indeed experimental and subsequently don’t all work properly. Disabling them one by one can fix Safari if it’s not working and help you discover which exact feature was causing the problem,
On your iPhone, go to “Settings -> Safari -> Advanced -> Experimental Features.”
If you have more than one feature enabled here, disable just one, then check to see if Safari works normally again. If it doesn’t, re-enable that feature (if you want it) and disable the next one. Keep repeating this procedure until (hopefully) Safari starts working again.
Change Your Network Settings
Try resetting your Wi-Fi connection and reconnecting to the network.
1. Go to “Settings -> Wi-Fi” and turn it off, then turn it back on after a few seconds.
2. If you’re using mobile data, go to “Settings -> Cellular” and turn “Cellular Data” off and back on after a few seconds.
3. If neither option works, go to “Settings -> Wi-Fi,” connect to a different Wi-Fi network, and try loading the web page again.
If the problem persists, try restoring your network settings to their original configuration.
1. Go to “Settings -> General -> Reset” and choose “Reset Network Settings.”
The Problem: Safari Crashed and Won’t Open
If you’ve ever panicked after Safari closed unexpectedly and couldn’t get the app to start, you probably encountered a bug that affects Safari’s search engine suggestions. This issue can cause the app to crash, freeze, or fail to start altogether. Although the bug usually plagues devices running iOS 10, it can affect just about any iPhone or iPad.
How to Fix It: Disable Search Engine Suggestions
1. Go to “Settings” and choose “Safari” in your list of apps.
2. Find “Search Engine Suggestions” and turn it off.
This feature offers suggestions for what you can search for as you type into Safari’s search bar. Disabling it gets rid of the problem for many users.
The Problem: Safari Is Gray (and Won’t Open)
Apps turning gray when you tap on them or appearing gray when you turn on your phone is a widespread issue for many iPhone users who make the switch to iOS 12. If you encounter the bug, Safari may stop working when you navigate to another app while it’s open, and the icon may appear gray.
How to Fix It: Update Your Software
To solve this problem, update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS. Apple includes important bug fixes in each software update, so it’s important to keep your iPhone or iPad up to date. iOS 11.1 fixed this bug for most users, so be sure to update to 11.1 or greater if you’re running an older version of iOS.
1. Go to “Settings -> General.”
2. Choose “Software Update” and install the latest update.
The Problem: Safari Is Slow
As powerful as your iPhone can be, it can get bogged down with all the extraneous information that it processes. If you notice that Safari takes longer to load pages or graphics, it may be time to do some housekeeping. Try clearing your browser history, website data, and cache to make Safari run more smoothly.
How to Fix It: Clear Your Data
To delete your cookies, cache, and browsing history:
1. Go to “Settings -> Safari.”
2. Choose “Clear History and Data.” Safari will remember your AutoFill information if you choose this option.
To keep your browsing history but clear your cache and cookies:
1. Go to “Settings -> Safari -> Advanced.”
2. Choose “Website Data -> Remove All Website Data” and tap “Remove Now.” Note that Safari will not remember your AutoFill information if you choose this option.
To remove only a portion of your browsing history, cache, and cookies:
1. Open Safari and tap the Bookmark icon.
2. Open your History and tap “Clear.”
Safari will give you the option to clear your history, cookies, and browsing data from the past hour, the past day, the past 48 hours, or from your entire history.
The Problem: Safari Still Isn’t Working
Although it sounds cliche, turning your phone off and back on again can be the solution to any number of Safari-related issues.
How to Fix It: Restart Safari or Reboot Your Phone
If none of the previous fixes help solve your problem, try restarting the app or rebooting your phone.
1. Double tap the home button to open multitasking, and swipe up to force the app to close. For iPhone X users and above, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and press on the screen when your finger is near the center to open multitasking view, and then swipe up on Safari to close it.
2. To shut down your phone, press and hold the sleep/wake button until a slider appears. Slide to the right to power off your phone. For iPhone X users and above, press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons until the slider appears. Then slide it to the right to power off your phone.