Newly-revealed date glitch may render some iOS devices unusable

Posted:
in iPhone
Though people have to go out of their way to trigger it, a time-related glitch discovered in iOS 8 and 9 will let users potentially "brick" many Apple devices, rendering them non-functional.




Users must go into the Date & Time menu under Settings, disable the "Set Automatically" option, and then manually roll the date back to Jan. 1, 1970, according to a YouTube video published on Thursday. This requires jumping in and out of the menu, since the date won't initially rewind that far.

Once the new date is set, rebooting a device may leave it stuck at the Apple logo, and even the full range of restore options may not work. In that circumstance there's likely no option but to get a Genius Bar repair or a replacement device (possibly free under warranty), though some people have reported that a device might spontaneously recover several hours later -- albeit with extremely slow performance. That may allow users to change date settings and recover.



A Reddit thread suggests that the bug may be related to timezones, since rolling the date back as far as it will go could be setting the clock to a value less than zero. One person said they only bricked their phone after changing timezones from Beijing to New York.

In addition to requiring iOS 8, the bug is also limited to Apple devices with 64-bit processors, from the iPhone 5s onwards. Older products like the iPhone 5 or iPad 2 should be immune.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Let me guess.  They're using NSUinteger instead of NSInteger?
    volcantdknox
  • Reply 2 of 33
    Exactly 0 people would have probably ever thought to set the date back to 1970, but now thousands of idiots will do it for sure.  
    edited February 2016 braderunnernapoleon_phoneapartchialollivercornchipryan2012jonldouglas baileytallest skil
  • Reply 3 of 33
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Though people have to go out of their way to trigger it, a time-related glitch discovered in iOS 8 and 9 will let users potentially "brick" many Apple devices, rendering them non-functional.




    Users must go into the Date & Time menu under Settings, disable the "Set Automatically" option, and then manually roll the date back to Jan. 1, 1970, according to a YouTube video published on Thursday. This requires jumping in and out of the menu, since the date won't initially rewind that far.

    Once the new date is set, rebooting a device may leave it stuck at the Apple logo, and even the full range of restore options may not work. In that circumstance there's likely no option but to get a Genius Bar repair or a replacement device (possibly free under warranty), though some people have reported that a device might spontaneously recover several hours later -- albeit with extremely slow performance. That may allow users to change date settings and recover.



    A Reddit thread suggests that the bug may be related to timezones, since rolling the date back as far as it will go could be setting the clock to a value less than zero. One person said they only bricked their phone after changing timezones from Beijing to New York.

    In addition to requiring iOS 8, the bug is also limited to Apple devices with 64-bit processors, from the iPhone 5s onwards. Older products like the iPhone 5 or iPad 2 should be immune.
    I;m pretty tired of the word "bricked" being used so liberally. These thinks are not bricked at all. Brick means there is no possible recovery.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Oh, and its also possible to render your iPhone useless when you slam it on a concrete table 1970 times. Probably it might stop working even earlier. Someone should make a YouTube video about this serious flaw.
    edited February 2016 palominesockrolidcornchipdouglas baileytallest skilairmanchairman
  • Reply 5 of 33
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    You can also brick your iPhone, or any other phone, by boiling it in a vat of molten lead for 30 minutes.  I guess there should articles warning about that too.
    edited February 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 33
    Who finds this stuff?
    cornchipryan2012
  • Reply 7 of 33
    Tens of users on Apple Forums demand an answer and an immediate fix, while shareholders take to Twitter to demand Tim Cook's immediate resignation. 

    European Union probe into whether it is possible to entirely prevent iOS to be set back to 1970 to commence; initiative underway to erase 1970 from the space-time continuum, sources say. 

    Shares tumble in the wake of Dategate. Tim Cook deletes blurry photo of his fishing trip. Apple iPhone guidance now in question. 

    More at 11.
    edited February 2016 ai46radarthekattdknoxRayz2016wonkothesaneargonaut
  • Reply 8 of 33
    A client of mine had the issue after her battery went to 0 for a longer time. She was only able to boot the device once, there you have seen the date set back to 1970. It was impossible to load any update because of the date. With Apple Configurator 2 it was possible to recover the device and set it back to the current date. New updates worked as well. 

    Sorry, with Apple Configurator 2 you can recover it for sure.
    volcancnocbuisergioz
  • Reply 9 of 33
    This is what Factory Reset is for. Make sure your phone is continuously backed up to iCloud, in case you (or someone else) does something stupid like this.

    The problem is, this really does have to be fixed. Some moron will see your phone unlocked and "prank" you. It's like the olden days when Hey Siri could be set to run actively when your phone was docked to power, so guys would come up and say "Hey Siri, from now on call me Butthead."
  • Reply 10 of 33
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,899member
    Doctor, doctor it hurts when I do this.
    tomkarlquadra 610
  • Reply 11 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,295member
    kent909 said:
    Who finds this stuff?
    Must be those trying to get AAPL below 90.
    cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    jason98 said:
    Exactly 0 people would have probably ever thought to set the date back to 1970, but now thousands of idiots will do it for sure.  
    Exactly.  Now the ambulance-chasing attorneys are preparing another boilerplate class-action lawsuit as we speak to represent said idiots.
    ryan2012
  • Reply 13 of 33
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    jason98 said:
    Exactly 0 people would have probably ever thought to set the date back to 1970, but now thousands of idiots will do it for sure.  
    Darwin Award.
  • Reply 14 of 33

    queue the Seattle law firm...


    I guess I need to warn my kids not to let anyone play with the calendar, I can see kids pranking each other with this gem. I know my kids friends you to keep trying to unlock each other phones until you could not get into the phone for an hour or so.

    edited February 2016
  • Reply 15 of 33
    kent909 said:
    Who finds this stuff?
    Kids.
    tdknox
  • Reply 16 of 33
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    Having the wrong date on your computer can definitely screw things up. BTW 00:00:00: Jan 1, 1970 is called UNIX epoch time. Counting the seconds since that time is how all UNIX dates and times are determined. This is expected to become a significant problem in the year 2038 for many computers that use a signed 32 bit integer for time calculations because they will simply run out of available bits. Mostly it will affect embedded systems, but is still significant because it includes a lot of infrastructure such as air traffic control and even ABS braking systems.

    Some systems that work with future dates could run into the problem even sooner than 2038.

    I have hundreds of files on my Mac right now that somehow have the date of Feb 5, 2040. You can fix in terminal but it is a real pain.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 17 of 33
    What a ridiculous "problem".  Here, what you do is this...because rolling back the date, toggling multiple times because it doesn't want to go back that far, then restarting your iPhone, will brick it.  Isn't that crazy?  How could Apple have missed such an obviously flaw?
  • Reply 18 of 33
    foggyhill said:
    I;m pretty tired of the word "bricked" being used so liberally. These thinks are not bricked at all. Brick means there is no possible recovery.
    According to the video, yes they are bricked. There is no hope for recovery. Even connecting to a computer and doing a DFI doesn't work. They have to be replaced by Apple.

    That sounds like bricking to me.
    crowley
  • Reply 19 of 33
    talexy said:
    Oh, and its also possible to render your iPhone useless when you slam it on a concrete table 1970 times. Probably it might stop working even earlier. Someone should make a YouTube video about this serious flaw.

    And you can get a brand new one at any Apple Store for what, $129?
    But only if you bought AppleCare+ when your smashed phone was new.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    tdknox said:
    foggyhill said:
    I;m pretty tired of the word "bricked" being used so liberally. These thinks are not bricked at all. Brick means there is no possible recovery.
    According to the video, yes they are bricked. There is no hope for recovery. Even connecting to a computer and doing a DFI doesn't work. They have to be replaced by Apple.

    That sounds like bricking to me.
    Because fracking videos are truth hey bud. Go, away!.
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