Earlier this week, Google rolled out the latest version of the Chrome browser and its Chrome OS counterpart to desktop and mobile devices across the globe. Version 97 of Chrome and Chrome OS are relatively light in the updates department but one segment of devices is seeing some undesirable behavior after the latest update and it appears to be rendering Chrome all but useless.
Chrome for iOS recently updated to version 97.0.4692.72 and it didn’t take long for users to take to the web to express their dismay that the mobile browser was freezing and crashing every time they tried to use the app. Reddit user ysihaoy pointed out that uninstalling and reinstalling Chrome did nothing to alleviate the issue while multiple reports rolled into the official Chrome forum describing a similar experience. The problem looks to extend to any iOS device to include iPhones and iPads but some users think they have pinpointed what may be at the root of the problem.
The exact cause is still unclear but many users have found that Chrome’s Discovery feed is lending to the unfortunate bug. Discover on Chrome akin to the Discover feed that many of us use daily on our Android phones when we swipe right and scroll through news and post curated based on our interests and browsing habits. The same articles will appear at the bottom of Chrome’s New Tab Page in the mobile version of the browser.
The Chrome Forum is full of responses from a number of Product Experts which gives me hope that Google is aware of the issue but no official statement has been made at this point. Thankfully, some savvy users have “discovered” a temporary workaround for the nasty little bug. (See what I did there? Discover? Nevermind.) For starters, this problem seems to be limited only to when users are connected to Wi-Fi. Multiple comments on various posts confirm that switching to a mobile network fixes things – temporarily, at least.
If you’re looking for a more permanent fix while you’re waiting on an update from Google, one user found that disabling Discover entirely will prevent Chrome from crashing. The only problem with that solution is that disabling Discover requires Chrome to be opened to a New Tab Page and that won’t work because the browser freezes and/or crashes before you can do anything. Thankfully, you can leap this hurdle by putting your iPhone or iPad in Airplane Mode and disabling the Wi-Fi. Then, you can open Chrome and click the gear icon next to Discover, and turn the feature off. After that, you can turn off Airplane Mode, reenable Wi-Fi and restart Chrome. From there, you should be good to go.
We’ll keep an eye on the forums and the Chrome Release Blog and update this post as soon as Google releases an official patch for this unexpected bug. Until then, I hope this helps you get back online. Did this fix work for you? Drop a comment below and let us know.