Apple is not having a good time with some strange bugs coming out in public for iOS devices. Last year users discovered a strange bug in iOS in which a particular text message in Arabic made the Messaging app crash and the iPhone to go into reboot cycle. This peculiar messaging issue affected iPhone, iPad and even Apple Watch. Later this year came the ‘CrashSafari.com’ which when opened in safari crashed the browser and the device will reboot. Recently came the ‘Error 53’ which is bricking devices which are repaired by third party.
Now another strange bug has surfaced recently for iOS, this relates to date and time settings. The issue is when you set your iOS device to January 1, 1970 the device is ‘bricked’. Many users have been posting about the issue on Reddit. After changing the date of the device to January 1, 1970 on iPhone, iPad or iPod when you restart the device, it will get stuck on the first screen with Apple logo.
The issue seems to be plaguing devices with 64-bit processors and running iOS 8 and later OS version and these included iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. 64-bit processors in Apple devices are A7, A8, A8X, A9, and A9X. iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 6s, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPod touch sixth-generation are the devices impacted. Users on Reddit are saying the 32-bit iOS devices are not affected by this issue for date.
Why this is happening is still not clear, many reasons have come up on the Reddit thread but the most plausible is the one with issue of time zones and setting the date to January 1, 1970 sets the internal clock less than zero, and that is making the device not to start back again. Some users have got away even with changing the date may be due to time zone, one user has explained this on Reddit:
“For those who got away with trying this and it not bricking your device, there’s a reason why – time zones. In some time zones, setting the date to 1 Jan 1970 will set the internal clock to a number less than zero, as the time is stored in GMT (as the number of seconds since midnight on that date) and then the offset is applied before display. In other time zones, setting the clock will result in a positive time value. Best guess is that this is triggered by having the time value less than zero.”
Not only changing the date to 1970 is bricking the device, one user has claimed to have got this bug when he changed his time zone from Beijing to New York. There have been users also reporting that the device has gone on after five hours and also that disconnecting the battery and reconnecting again solves the issue, but this might void your phone’s warranty so I would suggest not to go for it.
In fact the whole issue would not be bugging you if you do not try to test the bug by hands-on experience. The issue comes up only when you change the time back to 1970, so why would you change the time back. As it is now know that it causing the iPhones to brick and the only solution as of now is to get your phone taken to Apple store. Apple is yet to confirm the issue and till then users have to wait for the fix to come.
Check out the video below from Zach Straley to see what and how this happens. But I would again warn you not to try this on your iPhones, bricked iPhones are not good and you may end up paying for buying a new phone (out of warranty ones) which you don’t need to.