How long would a Matrix iteration cycle last? I mean the time frame from a reboot to the next.

  • 1
    Approx a hundred years
    – Valorum
    Feb 9, 2016 at 9:21
  • 2
    It is somewhat of a duplicate, but the answer to this question, while given in the accepted answer to the other question, is just barely mentioned and could stand emphasizing in that or another answer. Feb 9, 2016 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


We don't know for sure, but the best estimate we get comes from Morpheus during his speech in Zion:

I remember that for one hundred years we have fought these machines. I remember that for one hundred years they have sent their armies to destroy us. And after a century of war, I remember that which matters most. We are still here!

Morpheus, The Matrix Reloaded

The Machines demonstrate that they are able to learn from the humans (e.g. Rama Kandra indicates that the Machines are learning how to love), so it is possible that each iteration of the Matrix lasts a little longer than the previous one. There is probably an upper bound on the length of time each iteration can last, though:

  • the Machines can't get much better at getting humans to accept the program (they are already at 99%)
  • the Machines need to periodically destroy Zion in order to check its power against them (and this coincides with the reboot of the Matrix)
  • the Machines probably need to reset the internal time of the Matrix (i.e. set the clock back to approximately 1999).
  • the Zionists evidently think the Oracle is a human since they trust her, yet Morpheus says that she has been with the Resistance "since the beginning". This means that the Resistance could not have been fighting the machines for longer than a human's lifespan as the Zionists would start to wonder how the Oracle is still alive after so many years and suspect that she's actually a program.

Note that the Matrix betas (the Paradise Matrix and Nightmare Matrix) probably lasted much less time since the Machines had not yet achieved 99% acceptance. Rejection of the Matrix grew much faster in the Matrix betas, so the betas had to be redesigned more often.

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    @amarillo Not exactly 1999, but in that timeframe so that the Matrix would be set in the "peak of [human] civilization". I think there's already a question about technological progression and the timeframe for the Matrix.
    – Null
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:15

Although Morpheus' speech mentions 100 years, that isn't really possible and much more time must have passed than even Zion realizes. Why?

7 males and 16 females could not repopulate Zion to the many thousands within 100 years without memory, multiply that by how many times did the architect say the matrix has been reloaded under the current The One paradigm?

It must be several hundred years at a minimum for each reboot.

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    You are forgetting the fact that Zion is continually adding to their numbers by releasing people from the Matrix.
    – Null
    Feb 9, 2016 at 15:56
  • I think that has an impact comparable to interest in interest earning bank accounts. How many people can get rescued from the matrix in any given period of time? That is an unanswered question, but we can extrapolate that it can't be all that many at once. First a suitable mind needs to be identified, contact needs to be made and that mind needs to be gently pushed to accept reality. How many ships does Zion have to dedicate to this mission? How many minds can each team focus on at one time?
    – Escoce
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:01
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    There are about 6 billion people in the Matrix and 1% of them reject the Matrix. That means Zion has about 60 million potential red pills. Not all of them are going to be released, but that's a much bigger pool to draw from than "7 males and 13 females".
    – Null
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:05
  • They can't rescue them all. Only those that are caught in their proverbial net and ready to accept reality which is not the same thing as rejecting the matrix. There are only so many ships and teams to catch them.
    – Escoce
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:09
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    If they don't use artificial wombs or liberating babies from growing fields, maybe the most likely answer is the one Null suggested that they mainly increase their numbers through liberation of redpills. Suppose each Zionite can only manage to contact, recruit and liberate one person from the Matrix every four years--that would mean their population could potentially double every four years, so there'd be 25 doublings in 100 years, which means an increase by a factor of 2^25 = 33,554,432 (and you'd have to multiply that by the original population of 24). Exponential growth is a powerful thing!
    – Hypnosifl
    Feb 9, 2016 at 17:14

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