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Don’t Be Tricked: Setting Your iPhone’s Date Back to 1970 Is a Really Bad Idea

Internet scam convinces many to render their phones useless.

| 2 min read

Internet scam convinces many to render their phones useless.

There has been a scam going around telling people that if they set the date on their iPhone back to 1970, they will get to “warp back in time with a classic Macintosh theme to relive the magic on your iPhone.” Don’t do it! Don’t let your curiosity win this time — it is not an Easter egg. Instead of a pleasant surprise, you’ll get a phone that no longer works.

This scam takes advantage of a bug in the system that bricks your phone — makes it as useless as a brick — when the date is set back to the earliest date possible and the phone is rebooted.

This happens because time on your device is calculated from 0:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970. That time is used as a starting point, and your current time is measured as it relates to that date. Unfortunately, setting your clock back confuses your phone into thinking that you’re in negative time.

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Apple shares that “[a]n upcoming software update will prevent this issue from affecting iOS devices.” That may not be any consolation if you’ve already ruined your device, but it’s a start.

The bug doesn’t only affect iPhones. In fact, iPads, iPad Airs, iPad minis and iPod touches made in 2015 or later can also be bricked in this way.

YouTube user JerryRigEverything took matters into his own hands and found a way to repair his phone after changing the date. He put his method up on YouTube so you can follow along if you feel tech-savvy enough. Otherwise, a trip to the Genius Bar may be worth your while. Tinker at your own risk as opening your phone will void your warranty!


Don’t forget to share the fact that this is a hoax with anyone you know who has an Apple device, and leave your phone at home if you get the urge to time travel!

Just in case you’re looking for something else not to do with your iPhone, or any other phone for that matter, don’t fall for the “microwave your iPhone to make it charge faster” prank that was going around a while back. I’m sure you can picture just how destructive that could be.

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