As TechCrunch noted, the first GPS systems recorded each week as a 10-digit number and rolled over every 1,024 weeks (about 20 years); it’s an issue that’s been compared to the infamous Y2K bug. The first rollover happened in Aug. 1999 before smart phones and their GPS capabilities were a thing. But the next happened in April, and the issues trickled down through GPS systems to cause issues with phones.
Even though the rollover happened in April, Apple said in July, when an update was released, that the issue wouldn’t affect older devices until Nov. 3, 2019.
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According to Apple, the update will “maintain accurate GPS location and [allow users] to continue to use functions that rely on correct date and time including App Store, iCloud, email, and web browsing.”
In other words, if you don’t update, all the useful features on your iPhone 5 will be useless. Or you’ll at least have to update your iOS via computer, which is never fun. Other devices, like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, will lose GPS capabilities, but that’s all.
Not too many people are affected by this — Engadget says Apple reports only nine percent of users still use a version of iOS that pre-dates iOS 12, while Apple discontinued the iPhone 5 in Sept. 2013 and classified the iPhone 5 as “vintage” in Nov. 2018.
But if you still rock the 5, well, now you know.