1970 Bug: The Easiest Way To Brick an iPhone or iPad

1970 Bug: The Easiest Way To Brick an iPhone or iPad

iOS has its own share of woes and it seems to be growing day by day. About a week ago, there was news about one Error 53 showing on iOS devices repaired through third parties. Apple explained this was intentionally programmed to ensure Touch ID security.

There was also a particular Safari bug like a month ago but the latest one is probably the worst. This could ‘permanently’ brick your device and at the moment, there isn’t a ‘definitive solution.’

Well, not really.

This prank originated from 4Chan where users were asked to set their iPhone’s date to January 1st, 1970. It was said that this would show a cool, retro Apple logo.

Image source: 4chan

Those who fell for the prank had their phones bricked. Affected devices include all devices from the iPhone 5S with 64-bit processors. iPad Air and later too are affected. Trying to restore your device through iTues won’t solve this as it perpetually stays on the Apple logo trying to boot up.

A YouTube user demonstrated exactly how this bug works:

What’s the cause?

It is said that this happens because January 1st, 1970 is the first day of UNIX epoch and UNIX-like systems measure time from that particular day in seconds. The number is stored in 32-bit and setting the date back to zero (January 1st, 1970) causes issues with the system.
Is there a fix yet?

Not really. As said earlier, restoring through iTunes won’t fix this. Also, setting your iPhone or iPad to DFU mode and restoring won’t fix it. According to this reddit thread, the only fix is allowing the battery to completely run down. This resets the date back to normal. If you can disassemble the phone, disconnecting the battery too works.

Even with this fix, don’t try it on your phone. Think it’s a cool prank to play on your friends with iPhones? Think about how they are going to take it first.
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