Users of Apple iPhone 5, 4s and discontinued iPads need to update NOW to avoid losing functionality

If you’re an iPhone 4s or iPhone 5 user who’s been holding out for the longest time in the hopes that Apple will release a new iPhone, be warned that your device could stop functioning properly come 3 November.

Apple has published a support page urging users of older Apple devices to update to the latest supported version of the iOS operating system. The issue isn’t in Apple’s control and is a result of an unusual event called GPS Rollover. If you don’t update, location services will stop functioning and even iCloud syncing and backups will stop working. Time and date syncing might also be affected.

A bug called GPS Rollover will mess up GPS functionality on older iPhones and iPads.

A bug called GPS Rollover will mess up GPS functionality on older iPhones and iPads.

Much like the Y2K bug, GPS Rollover occurs once every 1024 weeks (~20 years), when certain GPS hardware units are forced to reset their date and time trackers. This happens because the hardware is only programmed to count 1024 weeks.

The fix is simple enough, but older Apple devices, and other hardware as well, may not have received an updated to account for the rollover.

Failing to account for the event has led to the grounding of weather balloons and even some Boeing aircraft, according to

According to Apple, here are the affected devices:

  • iOS 10.3.4: iPhone 5, iPad (4th Gen) Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • iOS 9.3.6: iPhone 4s, iPad mini (1st Gen) Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad 2 (Wi-Fi + Cellular – CDMA), iPad (3rd Gen) Wi-Fi + Cellular

All devices must be updated by 12.00 am UTC (5.30 am IST) on 3 November, says Apple.

As a note for iPhone 5 users, Apple states that the phone must be backed up and restored via a Mac or PC if it’s not updated before 3 November as iCloud updates will stop functioning.

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