Do NOT set your iPhone clock back to 1970

Alex Kidman 15 February 2016 NEWS


A bug in iOS can seriously impact the performance of your iPhone, despite Internet pranks that claim it gives you a "classic" user interface.

Apple’s iPhone line remains incredibly popular in Australia, which means that there are a lot of handsets around. That’s undeniably why the recent issues around "Error 53" -- where a repair done at a third party repairer or in some cases simple damage to a TouchID sensor, combined with iOS 9 can render an iPhone completely unusable -- hit so many Australians so hard.

The latest unfortunate bug from the Apple assembly line won’t strike quite so randomly as Error 53 appears to, but its results could be just as devastating. It appears that due to an error in the way that iOS counts dates, setting the calendar clock back to 1 January 1970 will lock up the handset.

Reports vary as to the severity of what happens next, with phones either being locked up entirely ("bricked"), or slow to respond, although some who have encountered the bug have been able to recover their devices via a full, phone-wiping factory reset.

None of those are things that you should consider desirable in any way, but just in case, to make it crystal clear:

Under no circumstances should you set your iPhone’s date back to the 1970s.

There’s no reason to, but that didn’t stop Internet pranksters from circulating messages indicating that doing so would unlock a "classic" Macintosh theme for your iPhone.

It’s nonsense, of course. Not only is Apple notably reluctant to use old user interface elements in newer product, but Apple itself didn’t exist back in 1970, and the first Macintosh computer didn’t hit the market until 1984.

Apple has yet to make any kind of public comment on the issue, but it’s a fair bet that the next iOS update will patch this particular bug.

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