iOS Update Deadline is About to Hit

A warning for those of you with older iPhones or iPads.

If you own an iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad Retina Display or 4th-generation iPad, make sure you’re running iOS 9.3.6 or 10.3.4 or above. If you’re not, you could run into trouble in November.

It’s down to a bug in the way GPS works. Because of the way it records weeks, it resets to zero every 1024 weeks, or 19.7 years. Modern devices are designed to cope with this issue, but older Apple gear might get confused. To avoid this happening, you must update your version of iOS before 3rd November 2019. If you don’t, your older devices won’t be able to access the Internet for email, web surfing, App Store and more.

This shouldn’t come as news to many people. Apple has been sending out full-screen alerts for the last four months. But if you have an older device in the back of a drawer or cupboard that you think you might use again one day, dig it out, power it up and make sure you’re ready for the cut-off date.

If you see this warning on your older iPhone, don’t ignore it.

How to update iOS

Switch on your iPhone and make sure it’s connected to a power source. If you get the alert shown here, just tap Update Now and follow the on-screen instructions. If not, open the Settings app, and go to General > Software Update. Follow the instructions there to update to a newer version of iOS, which will be protected against the GPS reset problem.

If you missed the deadline

If you’re reading this after 3rd November and you didn’t update your device, all is not lost. First of all, check whether you can access the Internet; open a new Safari page or download emails. If this works, your version of iOS is unaffected.

If you’ve lost the Internet, plug the iPhone into your PC or Mac and open iTunes. Click on the name of the phone or iPad in the sidebar, and then, in the main window, click the Check for Update button. Your device is updated by your computer downloading the patch.

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Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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