Saturday, March 4, 2017

How to crash Safari by typing simple words

There’s a handful of basic words and letters that when typed into the URL field will instantly crash Safari on the Mac. Versions of Safari on iPhone and iPad don’t seem to be affected.
Here’s a list of those found so far that crash Safari – type any into the URL/search field of Safari and Safari will instantly quit, and then report a crash error dialog box, before reopening.
rp s
joe r
There are likely to be others. As for what’s going on, well, the crash log points to the following:
Dispatch queue:
… which perhaps suggests it’s a URL parsing issue to my untrained eyes. However, these are fairly innocuous phrases and far from even looking like malformed URLs. It’s certainly very strange. If you’re better able to understand the crash log then post your thoughts in the comments below.
Curiously, typing any of these into the Spotlight search tool will also cause it to crash – although it immediately recovers. I imagine this will happen anywhere within macOS where a web preview or lookup is generated. The crashing bug is also present in the Safari Technology Preview. I tried to speak the phrases to Siri on the Mac to see what happened, but it kept mishearing me – Joe R was heard variously as “you are” and “Joe are”. Similarly, “tymal” consistently came out as “timer”. You might have better luck!
UPDATE: As mentioned by reader “MB” in the comments below, this bug can be deactivated by turning off Safari suggestions: open Safari’s preferences (Cmd+comma), click the Search tab, and remove the check from the Include Safari Suggestions box. To avoid Spotlight crashing when the words or letters are typed, open System Preferences, click the Spotlight icon, then the Search Results tab, and remove the check alongside Spotlight Suggestions.
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