January 1, 1970 and the iPhone: what is this bug?

In February 2016, very interesting information appeared regarding the iOS operating system. It is reported that users of the famous Reddit forum were able to detect critical vulnerabilities in the operating system. The bottom line is: when you transfer the date to January 1, 1970 and reboot the iPhone or iPad turns into a brick.

As usual, many users took this bug as a joke, especially since many resources talked about it in a joking manner. What was the surprise of the owners of the devices when the latter really became bricks!

The process is as follows: you had to go to “Settings” – “Basic” – “Date”, turn the toggle switch “Automatically” to the “Off” position and set the date on January 1, 1970, and the time was 1:00 AM or 13:00. After the procedure, the device needed to be rebooted.

After the reboot, the user saw this – an apple on the screen, and constantly:

What is the reason for this bug? The following versions are provided:

  • The iOS operating system code has a division operation for the current time, and division by zero leads to an error.
  • The time zone on the iPhone or iPad is lagging behind GMT, which can lead to a negative unix timestamp value, which in turn leads to an error.

The error was relevant for the iPhone and iPad, built on the basis of processors A7, A8, A8X, A9, A9X.

As for the solution to the issue, it, before the release of the fix from Apple, looked like this:

  • It was necessary to completely discharge the device so that it turned off. After that, put it on charge and turn it on. This method did not work in all cases..
  • The second way is much more complicated – you had to disconnect the battery manually. Not everyone can do it on their own, so many preferred to contact the service. This method always worked.

In iOS 9.3 beta 4, the developers fixed a bug, as a result of which the device should not be scorched if you enter the date January 1, 1970. But we can’t guarantee anything, so we don’t recommend setting the indicated date. You never know what.