Setting This Date on Your iPhone Will Brick it Forever

Setting This Date on Your iPhone Will Brick it Forever

Warning! Don’t try this.

A Reddit user has found an interesting yet dangerous-for-your-iPhone bug. Setting the date to May 1970 or earlier on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, will put it to a forever sleep. This works for the 64-bit versions of iOS only.

vista980622, who seems to be a fresh fellow at Reddit’s Apple community posted the details with a notice “Beware: Don’t try this”. Here is what he had to say:

When the date of a 64-bit iOS device is set to January 1, 1970, the device will fail to boot.

Connecting the device to iTunes and restoring the device to factory defaults will not put the device back in working order. Instead, a physical repair is required.

When connected to public Wi-Fi, iPhone calibrates its time settings with an NTP server. Theoretically, attackers can send malicious NTP requests to adjust every iPhone’s time settings to January 1, 1970, hence brick every iPhone connected to the same network.

According to /u/sarrius, worldwide Apple Store are being made aware that disconnecting the battery and reconnecting fixes the issue. It should be common knowledge to all stores worldwide by tomorrow.

Here goes a video demonstration put together by Youtube user Zach Straley.

video-warning

This bug affects any iOS device that uses 64-bit A7, A8, A8X, A9 and A9X processors and runs iOS 8 or newer, including iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. If you are on a 32-bit iOS version, sit back because you are on the safe side.

Update: How?

TheHackerNews tells how it actually works.

Basically, the whole process is due to this:
Set up the date to January 1, 1970, via settings on your iOS device, Reboot your device, and you are done.
Your iPhone or iPad will no longer boot and will be stuck to the Apple logo. Even recovery mode restore or DFU mode will not let you restore your device; it will remain stuck on the bootup screen.
Your device will reportedly not come back, and the only way to get it back to work once again is to take your iOS device to an Apple Store.

Apple has taken notice of the bug and quickly put a support page that includes a message about the issue being fixed in the next iOS update.

About The Author

Imran Ahmed Hunzai is a digital media consultant and co-founder of Islamabad-based digital agency Centangle Interactive . He covers stories from the Pakistani startup arena and interviews budding entrepreneurs in the region. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+