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Apple Warns iPhone 5 Users Risk Losing Internet Access

Dominique Adams


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iPhone 5 users are being urged to update their software before the weekend or risk losing access to the internet. 

Tech giant Apple has said users that fail to download iOS 0.3.4 by 3 November would be locked out of features that rely on the correct time and date. This would include the App Store, email, web browsing and storage service iCloud.

Although not the most recent version of the operating system, it is the most up-to-date available for the iPhone 5. In addition, users of older iPhone have been told to update their software too in order to maintain accurate GPS location services.

Those with the older model have started to receive pop-up alert messages over the past few days prompting them to update to the latest iOS or risk losing key online features.

Users can update their device wirelessly or by using a computer before 3 November. But, after the deadline they will need to connect their device to a Mac or PC, because wireless updates will no longer work. Apple has advised that people using an iPhone 5 should check that they are running software version 10.3.4.


Older versions including the iPhone 4S and some older versions of the iPad should also download the software to ensure the GPS services continue working. Owners of newer models are not affected. WiFi-only models are also unaffected.

The problem has stemmed from a GPS issue which only occurs once every 19 years and happened in April, causing some devices to lose track of time. When the GPS rollover happened in April, Apple had to roll-out a fix to stop devices’ location services and clocks becoming confused. Because of the way weeks are recorded in GPS systems, the date effectively resets to zero every 19 years.

In a statement on its site, Apple said: “Starting just before 12:00 a.m. UTC on November 3, 2019, iPhone 5 will require an iOS update to maintain accurate GPS location and to continue to use functions that rely on correct date and time including App Store, iCloud, email, and web browsing.

“This is due to the GPS time rollover issue that began affecting GPS-enabled products from other manufacturers on April 6, 2019. Affected Apple devices are not impacted until just before 12:00 a.m. UTC on November 3, 2019.”

Since the launch of the iPhone 5 in September 2012, Apple says around 70 million devices have been sold. Apple received two million pre-orders in the first 24 hours of its launch. Apple says that 9% of all iOS device users are running software earlier than iOS 12 as of 15 October, and many of those are using newer hardware (the percentage shrinks to 7% when you limit the data to devices four years old or newer).

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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