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: a glitch in the notifications system is crashing springboard, the part of iOS that handles your home screen.

Apps with daily notifications (workout apps, medication reminder apps, etc), in particular, seem to be triggering the crash… but only after your device’s 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.

The 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 third-party app and work backwards in turning them back on… but that’s a pretty huge pain.)

Update: Once you’ve gotten your device to stop resetting, update iOS. Apple has just officially released iOS 11.2 to all, and it appears to fix this issue — but you’ll still need to get your device stable enough to update, first. Once you’re on 11.2, you can turn all those notifications back on.

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 algorithms, so things (like, say, iMessage) start to break when your system clock is way off. It won’t brick your device, but lots of apps and games will act funny. If you have to do it, make sure to set it back to automatic when you’re done.

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]