Page 2 – How to Fix a Safari Hijack in iOS 11
With this method, we’ll force quit Safari and then clear some or all of your cache to delete the offending webpage.
Step 1: Force Quit Safari. In iOS 11 on iPhone 8/Plus and earlier, as well as iPad, double tap the Home Button to bring up the App Switcher. Swipe up on Safari to Force Quit.
In iOS 11 on iPhone X, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold (or, swipe up and to the left in an arc) to bring up the App Switcher. Tap and hold on an app until the red circles with a minus sign appears. Tap the minus sign on Safari to Force Quit the app.
Step 2: Go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data > Clear History and Data, as shown below. This will erase the cache for Safari on this device—AND every other device that syncs Safari through iCloud—erasing the problematic webpage from your device.
You may be given the option of just erasing data from the last hour. This is a great option if you don’t want to lose the rest of your web cache. I used that option when dealing with my encounter, but didn’t have it when taking screenshots for this article.
This will solve most browser hijacks in iOS 11. When you open up Safari again, the offending page will be gone and you’ll be free to user your device normally.
Two Methods for Dealing with More Pernicious Browser Hijacks
Sometimes, though, the scumbags get a little more clever, and clearing your data alone doesn’t work. Don’t ask me how that’s possible, but I found the two methods below when helping someone with just this problem.
Advanced Safari Settings in iOS 11
Using an External Link to Bypass a Browser Hijack
There’s yet one more method for bypassing a hijacked browser window in Safari in iOS 11, and that’s to open a new window by tapping on a link in another app. You can do this any number of ways. For instance, having a friend send you a URL in iMessage. In a pinch, you can send the URL yourself to a friend in iMessage. Once it’s in a chat, you can tap it no matter who sent it.
If you already have a link someone sent you, use that, be it in iMessage, Mail, a Note, or anywhere else. The object here is to send the URL to Safari, which will open it in a new window, despite the browser hijack. Here’s an example:
Once you tap it and head back to Safari, it will open the new window. You can then go to the tab browser in Safari and swipe the offending webpage away.
In the case where I helped a friend, the malicious page would reassert itself on top of the new tab. It was a really well-crafted piece of scummery. She had only a split second to tap the tab switcher, and it took several tries. In the end, however, we won and the scumbags were defeated.
Hopefully these steps will help you beat the bad guys, too.