A bug found in Apple's iOS mobile operating system could potentially 'brick' your iOS device. Several users are reporting that tweaking the system date on a range of iOS device models is rendering the devices useless. Apple is yet to acknowledge the issue.
Enthusiasts on Reddit report that changing the system date on your iPhone or iPad (and your sixth-generation iPod touch) to January 1 1970 will restart the device, and force it onto a never-ending bootloop. The affected device, plenty of users report, doesn't get past the Apple's logo startup screen.
Apple is yet to address the issue, and hence, release a patch for it. Chatter on the Reddit thread claims that iPhone and iPad with 64-bit A7, A8, A8X, A9, and A9X SoC are impacted. Which in other words mean, 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 impacted. Users claim that 32-bit iOS devices, all the iPhone and iPad models not listed above, are not impacted.
It is not clear what exactly is triggering the issue though many believe that it has something to do with the time and the way iOS renders it. If the value of the time is smaller than zero, it is apparently preventing the iPhone from starting again. Here's a popular theory on the matter, again courtesy of 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," a user wrote.
Now, it is rather impractical for a person to change the date back to 1970, so it isn't as if this unfortunate bug, if that's indeed what it is, will automatically crash so many iOS devices. But in case, if someone's morbid curiosity does result in bricking their iPhone, it appears the only way to get it fixed is a trip to Apple's Store (a Genius Bar appointment). Some users claim that they got a free replacement for Apple. Some users, however, claim that the issue was resolved by itself in a few hours.
Interestingly, some folks are also claiming that physically disconnecting and reconnecting the battery is fixing the issue. Though, the metal-clad smartphone isn't the easiest thing to crack open, and we would warn you against doing that as it also violates your warranty.
To recall, Apple recently did address a system clock bug in iPhone, that was making the battery bar on some devices to freeze. We have reached out to Apple for comments on the new issue.