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Apple Reissues iOS 9.3 for Older Devices; Links Remain Problematic

Following activation issues with some older iOS devices, Apple has reissued the iOS 9.3 update for them after pulling it temporarily. Affected devices include the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, third-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPad, iPad 2 (read on for a separate update for the GSM model), iPad mini, iPad mini 2, and the fifth-generation iPod touch.

The issue with iOS 9.3 was that those devices would get stuck at activation if users couldn’t remember their Apple ID usernames and/or passwords. If your iOS device is stuck at the activation step, Apple has posted some instructions explaining how to bypass the hangup.

To obtain the new update, issued with build number 13E237, check Settings > General > Software Update or update via iTunes.

Apple has also issued an iOS 9.3 update for GSM-equipped iPad 2 tablets, which resolves a similar activation issue.

However, many users are reporting that tapping Web links in iOS 9.3 is causing hangs and app crashes. The new iOS 9.3 release does not fix this issue. One affected TidBITS reader contacted Apple, who informed her that this is an “emerging issue” — meaning that Apple is just now learning about it, and probably hasn’t identified the solution yet. Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac claims to have traced the issue back to specific third-party apps installed on iOS devices, but otherwise, we don’t have much light to shine on the issue.

Given that iOS 9.3 was in beta for much longer than most minor iOS updates, it’s surprising that Apple missed these bugs in the update. Regardless, if you follow our advice of storing passwords in a password manager like 1Password or LastPass, you likely missed the activation glitch entirely. Unfortunately, the Web-link bug is still a major problem for many iOS users, and all we can do is hope Apple releases a fix soon.

If you haven’t yet updated to iOS 9.3, it’s definitely worth waiting until there’s more movement from Apple.

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