Apple to iPhone 5 Users: Update Your Device Now or Else!

Apple iPhone 5

By Jeremy Del Nero on 30 October 2019
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Apple is telling owners of older iPhones including the iPhone 5 that they must upgrade their devices’ operating systems before midnight GMT on November 3 (8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT on November 2) or encounter issues with any app that relies on the correct date and time including e-mail, web browsing, iCloud synchronization, and the App Store.

The issue is not related to the end of Daylight Saving Time, which takes place earlier on November 3 in the United States, but to the Global Positioning System Week Number Rollover that took place in April of this year.

While placing and receiving calls and sending texts will work, the Calendar and Reminders apps will lose track of time.  Ironically, GPS navigation on the device will continue to work.

The issue will also impact those still using other 2012 and earlier Apple gear such as an iPhone 4S, the fourth-generation iPad Wi-Fi with Cellular, and several older iPads. Newer devices, i.e. post iPhone 5, will not be impacted.

While the second GPS week number rollover took place on the night of April 6 to April 7, 2019 (the first took place over August 21 to August 22, 1999), some devices won’t rollover until the night of November 3, including the aforementioned Apple products.

The Global Positioning System Week Number rollover is an event that happens every 1024 weeks, or 19.7 years.  The Global Positioning System broadcasts a date, including a weekly counter that is stored in only ten binary digits, with a range of zero to 1023.  After 1023, the internal value rolls over to zero again.

Software that isn’t coded to anticipate the rollover could roll back 20 or 40 years or it could stop working altogether.

Users of the older iPhones and iPads can update over the air by going to Settings, tapping General, and then Software Update.  If this isn’t done before the November deadline, the phone will need to be connected to a computer and updated through iTunes to continue working.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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