Skip to main content

Why You Need to Update Your iPhone 5 Right Now

(Image credit: Apple)

If you're still using an iPhone 5, staying up-to-date on software is probably not one of your top priorities. Still, Apple says you had better make sure the version of iOS is updated by next Sunday (Nov. 3) if you want your phone to continue to function properly.

In a support document, Apple says that the iPhone 5 will need to be iOS 10.3.4 by 12 a.m. on Nov. 3 — that's 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT the previous day. Otherwise, your iPhone will no longer be able to maintain an accurate GPS location and functions that rely on the correct date and time such as the App Store, iCloud, email and web browsing won't work properly.

The culprit is the same GPS time rollover issue that cropped up in April. GPS software uses a 10-bit number field to calculate dates and every 19.7 years or so, the numbers flip back to zero and start counting again. A software update keeps devices working properly.

Apple's devices weren't affected back in April, but time's up for the older iPhone 5. Thus, Apple is urging people who still have that phone, first released seven years ago, to update their software. Otherwise, you're going to have to back up and restore your iPhone using a Mac or PC, since over-the-air software updates and iCloud backups won't work on affected, un-updated iPhones after Nov. 3.

Fortunately, updating your software before then is a pretty easy task. Just head to the Settings app, tap General and then tap About. You'll see what version of iOS you're running next to Software Version. If it's not iOS 10.3.4, go to Software Update in the General section of Settings and follow the instructions to bring your iPhone up to date.

This prompt to update your phone's software may also inspire you to consider updating your phone, too. If you've decided that seven years of that iPhone 5 is enough, we can help you find a new smartphone with our rankings of the best iPhones Apple currently sells. If price is a consideration, we've got a list of the cheapest iPhones, too.