Apple Confirms iPhone 1970 Bug, Says Fix is Coming

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According to the Internet, we should all set the date on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to 1970, and then restart it to watch it brick (Don't do this. It'll probably brick your device, and you'll have to explain to the Genius Bar why you did thought that was a good idea.). Apple says it's a real problem, and a fix is on the way.

Don't try the iPhone 1970 date thing, just trust that Apple is fixing it.Don't try the iPhone 1970 date thing, just trust that Apple is fixing it.

The bug crops up when you set the date on your iOS device to May 1970 or earlier, and then restart. Odds are your iOS device won't turn on any more, turning it into a high tech paper weight.

Sure, you can do it, but there isn't any reason why you should unless you're a time traveler. Even if you are, your iPhone would be little more than an iPod since the wireless technologies we rely on to get on the Internet or even make phone calls wouldn't exist yet. Also, you could completely disrupt the timeline by accidentally introducing iPhone-level technology decades too early.

Why would setting the date on your iPhone to 1970 kill it, you ask? The exact reason is something Apple is sorting out right now, but we do know where it starts.

iOS is a Unix-based operating system, and Unix counts time from a predefined start date: the Unix Epoch. That date happens to be January 1, 1970, and every Unix-based device has been counting seconds from that point forward.

Knowing that, you'd assume you can't set the date on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch earlier than the Unix Epoch, and you'd be right. The problem, then, is probably related to how something in iOS handles dates, and when you get too close to the zero point—in this case, earlier than May 1970—something goes horribly wrong and you device won't boot up any more.

The easy way to avoid the problem is to not set your iOS device's date that far back in time. You don't really need to see your iPhone brick to know the date bug works; just trust us on this one.

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The Internet is full of weird ideas and suggestions, like setting the date on your iPhone to 1970 and then restarting it. Seriously. There's no reason to do that, but considering we live in a world where people will try stunts like this to see if their iPhone really will brick, it's a good thing Apple has a fix on the way.

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I have an idea
Let’s define the start of the Anthropocene to January 1, 1970. Or maybe that would be the Anthropian Period and the first part would be the Unixocene.

Lee Dronick

Probably it is an easy fix, I suppose that they could just prevent users from setting a date earlier 2 January 1970.

Never underestimate the gullibility of some people. Click like and comment and you will be amazed at what happens, this really works.


Sir Harry, where is the “like” button? I want to be amazed at what happens! wink

I’m all for disrupting the timeline. Cellular phones in 1970 would be the coolest!

Lee Dronick

Ctopher, the data miners on Facebook.

Allen Bennett

If you let the battery run down,  you can boot. Otherwise, someone has to disconnect the battery for a few seconds.


You have to admit, Apple is pretty mediocre vis a vis quality for the past few years- Smokin’ hot laptops, battery fires, bad antennas, useless Maps and many more bugs but THIS takes the cake. I’d like to think it’s an Easter Egg that went bad - like maybe the year Woz lost his virginity - it was a BASH - not a CRASH. A HUG, not a BUG. A lick, not a brick…......
It’s simple code, I believe Google Android has this down.

Scott B in DC

I want to know why anyone would set their smart phone’s clock back to a time before cell phones? IMHO, if you do something stupid you get what you deserve, bug or no bug!

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