Have you ever thought about changing the date on your iPhone to January 1, 9170? No? Well keep it that way, at least until a future iOS software update.
Apple has launched a support page that confirms a bug that could cause iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices to be bricked if you change your date to May 1970 or earlier. The Cupertino firm says that the bug will be addressed in an “upcoming software update,” but if you’re affected right now, you’re advised to contact Apple Support.
Apple doesn’t reveal exactly what’s causing the bug, but it’s speculated that it could be that changing the date to 1/1/1970 could cause an issue called an integer underflow that iOS deals with by changing that negative integer to its maximum number. Programmer Tom Scott suggests that the problem is that that number is around 20 times longer than the entire universe is expected to be around, and so iOS may be having issues dealing with such a big number.
Folks that’ve already encountered the 1/1/1970 bug say that their phone gets stuck in a reboot cycle. Some have had luck fixing the issue by putting their device into DFU mode — which involves plugging it into a computer and performing a series of button holds — but you’re probably better off by simply contacting Apple Support.
The good news is that since this bug only occurs when you manually change your device’s date, it’s not like it’s just going to randomly brick your phone one day. If you’ve got some prankster friends that might think it’s funny to see what the January 1, 1970 bug does to your phone, well, maybe you should keep your iOS device to yourself until Apple issues its bug-fixing update.