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Let $\phi(n)$ be the Euler totient function and $\phi_k(n)$ be the iterated $\phi$ function, so that $\phi_1(n)=\phi(n)$ and $\phi_k(n)=\phi(\phi_{k-1}(n))$. Let \[f(n) = \min \{ k : \phi_k(n)=1\}.\] Does $f(n)/\log n$ have a distribution function? Is $f(n)/\log n$ almost always constant? What can be said about the largest prime factor of $\phi_k(n)$ when, say, $k=\log\log n$?
Pillai [Pi29] was the first to investigate this function, and proved \[\log_3 n < f(n) < \log_2 n\] for all large $n$. Shapiro [Sh50] proved that $f(n)$ is essentially multiplicative.

Erdős, Granville, Pomerance, and Spiro [EGPS90] have proved that the answer to the first two questions is yes, conditional on a form of the Elliott-Halberstam conjecture.

It is likely true that, if $k\to \infty$ however slowly with $n$, then for almost $n$ the largest prime factor of $\phi_k(n)$ is $\leq n^{o(1)}$.

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
How many iterations of $n\mapsto \phi(n)+1$ are needed before a prime is reached? Can infinitely many $n$ reach the same prime? What is the density of $n$ which reach any fixed prime?
A problem of Finucane. One can also ask about $n\mapsto \sigma(n)-1$.
Let $\sigma_1(n)=\sigma(n)$, the sum of divisors function, and $\sigma_k(n)=\sigma(\sigma_{k-1}(n))$. Is it true that \[\lim_{k\to \infty} \sigma_k(n)^{1/k}=\infty?\]
Let $g_1=g(n)=n+\phi(n)$ and $g_k(n)=g(g_{k-1}(n))$. For which $n$ and $r$ is it true that $g_{k+r}(n)=2g_k(n)$ for all large $k$?
The known solutions to $g_{k+2}(n)=2g_k(n)$ are $n=10$ and $n=94$. Selfridge and Weintraub found solutions to $g_{k+9}(n)=9g_k(n)$ and Weintraub found \[g_{k+25}(3114)=729g_k(3114)\] for all $k\geq 6$.
Let $\sigma_1(n)=\sigma(n)$, the sum of divisors function, and $\sigma_k(n)=\sigma(\sigma_{k-1}(n))$. Is it true that, for every $m,n$, there exist some $i,j$ such that $\sigma_i(m)=\sigma_j(n)$?
That is, there is (eventually) only one possible sequence that the iterated sum of divisors function can settle on. Selfridge reports numerical evidence suggests the answer is no, but Erdős and Graham write 'it seems unlikely that anything can be proved about this in the near future'.

See also [413] and [414].

Let $\nu(n)$ count the number of distinct primes dividing $n$. Are there infinitely many $n$ such that, for all $m<n$, we have $m+\nu(m) \leq n$?
Erdős suggested this problem as a way of showing that the iterated behaviour of $n\mapsto n+\nu(n)$ eventually settles into a single sequence, regardless of the starting value of $n$ (see also [412] and [414]).

Erdős and Graham report it could be attacked by sieve methods, but 'at present these methods are not strong enough'. Can one show that there exists an $\epsilon>0$ such that there are infinitely many $n$ where $m+\epsilon \nu(m)\leq n$ for all $m<n$?

Let $h_1(n)=h(n)=n+\tau(n)$ (where $\tau(n)$ counts the number of divisors of $n$) and $h_k(n)=h(h_{k-1}(n))$. Is it true, for any $m,n$, there exist $i$ and $j$ such that $h_i(m)=h_j(n)$?
Asked by Spiro. That is, there is (eventually) only one possible sequence that the iterations of $n\mapsto h(n)$ can settle on. Erdős and Graham believed the answer is yes. Similar questions can be asked by the iterates of many other functions. See also [412] and [413].