Some iPhones Will Lose Internet Connection Without Critical Update, Apple Says

If you are still using an iPhone 5, time may not be on your side.

In a push notification to the devices, Apple is warning users of the older smartphone model that they will have to update their software by November 3 or be left unable to use a slew of internet services including web browsing, emails, iCloud and the application marketplace.

Any iPhone 5 handsets that have not been updated to the latest software will be impacted by a GPS time configuration bug that first started affecting other devices back in April this year, an event dubbed a "mini Y2K" by tech website The Verge.

Apple recently uploaded a support page to its website describing the incident, confirming all users should ensure their phones have been updated to show OS versions 9.3.6 or 10.3.4, 9to5Mac reported.

The 2012-era smartphones are set to be impacted just before 12:00 a.m. (UTC) on Sunday. Any device that is not updated will lack an accurate GPS position, which is needed for a slew of applications and services to work properly.

"It's always a good idea to keep the operating system on your iPhone updated," Apple said. "If you have an iPhone 5, it's especially important to update your device's software wirelessly or using your computer... 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.

"If the update to iPhone 5 is not completed by November 3, 2019, you will be required to back up and restore using a Mac or PC in order to update because over-the-air software updates and iCloud Backup will not work," it added. Updated iPhone models are not impacted.

Even older iPhone and iPad models, specifically those introduced in 2012 and earlier, will also need an update although internet connection issues appear limited to the iPhone 5.

"This issue does not affect iPod touch or any iPad models that have Wi-Fi only. It also doesn't affect [newer] iOS devices," Apple says on its website.

Users can update by going to Settings and clicking on Software Update. To ensure the phone is properly updated, users can then open Settings > General > About > Software Version.

Homeland Security's cybersecurity division, CERT, released a technical paper earlier this year describing the GPS issue, which is officially known as the Week Number Rollover Event.

It stated: "The legacy GPS navigation message has a 10 bit parameter that represents Week Number. The WN parameter in the navigation message 'rolls over' to zero every 1024 weeks starting from 0000Z January 6, 1980. The next WN rollover will occur April 6, 2019." At the time, numerous in-car GPS providers were forced to roll out a series of urgent software patches.

iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 smartphone is displayed at the Apple flagship store on George street on September 21, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. The phone now needs critical updates, Apple has said. Cameron Spencer/Getty