PSA: Is your iPhone suddenly crashing? Here’s why (and how to fix it)
Is your iOS device rebooting itself seemingly at random this morning? You’re not alone.
Apple is having a pretty rough week when it comes to nasty software bugs. First there was that crazy admin login bypass in macOS – now a glitch is causing iOS devices around the world to crash.
Here’s what’s happening (at least as far as anyone can tell so far): a glitch in the notifications system is crashing springboard, the part of iOS that handles your home screen. This causes something that looks a whole lot like a device reset, after which you’ll be asked to re-input your PIN.
Apps with pre-scheduled daily notifications (workout apps, medication reminder apps, etc), in particular, seem to be triggering the crash… but only after your system clock passes 12:15 AM on December 2nd, 2017. That it originates from apps with daily notifications means it’s not affecting everyone — but it also makes it pretty hard to narrow down the list of impacted apps. There are just too many.
There’s no official fix yet, but there does seem to be a workaround: if you can get your device to boot for a few minutes without crashing and you can remember which apps send daily notifications, turn off notifications for those apps (Settings > Notifications > the app in question > toggle “Allow notifications”.)
(As a last resort, you can go through and manually turn off notifications for each and every app and work backwards in turning them back on… but that’s a pretty huge pain.)
What you probably shouldn’t do, though some are recommending it, is set your system clock back to a time before December 2nd. Lots of things on modern devices tap the system clock as part of their encryption/certification stuff, so things (like, say, iMessage) start to break when your system clock is way off. It won’t brick your device, but lots of things will act funny.
If your iOS device isn’t crashing after December 2nd at 12:15 am local time, meanwhile, you likely don’t need to do anything. You probably don’t use any apps with local/scheduled notifications, or you’ve already got them turned off. Curiously, this bug doesn’t seem to be impacting users running the latest iOS beta, iOS 11.2.
One could follow reports of the bug as it spreads around the world, starting in Australia. It’ll presumably start to hit West Coast US phones shortly after this post is up.
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment, and will update when we hear back.
[Hat tip to the folks in this reddit thread who were the first to figure out what the heck was going on]