Whatever You Do, Don't Set Your iPhone's Date To 1970

Whatever You Do, Don't Set Your iPhone To 1970 (Updated)

The tech world loves its Easter eggs, from Adventure's original hidden feature to Tesla's various car tricks. But don't fall for the recent claims for one hidden in your shiny new Apple iPhone: if you attempt it, you'll brick your device.

A prank originating from 4chan claims that if you set your iPhone's (5s models and up) date back to 1970, it will display a retro Apple logo:

Whatever You Do, Don't Set Your iPhone To 1970 (Updated)

What actually happens if you decide to set your iPhone back to 1 January, 1970? It will brick your device and there's no fix for it: even Apple's own Geniuses can't figure out how to fix it, and you'll have to get the phone completely replaced.

According to Ars Technica, this happens because 1 January, 1970 is the first day of the Unix epoch and that allowing the phone's battery to go completely dead (or disconnecting the battery) will reset the date.

YouTube user Zach Straley provides a good demonstration of what actually happens when you sent your phone back in time:

Fortunately, this isn't a thing you can do accidentally: there's quite a bit of effort on your part to actually set the date back almost five decades, but it's one of those things where curiosity just shouldn't take over.


Image credit: Attila Fodemesi / Shuttershock



    So what you're saying is, here's a guaranteed way to get a new replacement for any iPhone 5 or above?

      No, it can be fixed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofnq37dqGyY

      All you have to do is let the battery go completely flat, or disconnect and reconnect the battery and your phone comes back up just fine.
      Hopefully they will fix the bug in the next update, but in the meantime, running the battery out will get your phone back.

      was hoping this was true, at the moment I'm trying to find a way of swapping my iphone 6s plus for something like a samsung note with my telco.

      My contract ended not too long ago and I thought I'd give an iphone ago just to see what all the fuss was about. Long story short I wish I stuck with Android, there are so many features that I had for granted with Android IE background refresh is no background refresh for iphone - I still need to manually update each up by accessing it in order to get the latest notifications/updates.

      Tl;dr - Iphone is poo poo

        Did you allow push notifications on the iPhone for those apps when opening them the first time? I get them fine. Just switched back to iPhone after Android. Loving being back on a phone with proper background tombstoning of apps, and with basic features like proper Bluetooth support. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have a phone that just worked.

        Last edited 16/02/16 2:27 pm

          Yeah I have that all turned on, It works but not the same as Android.

          For example - Facebook messenger.

          Android: Most recent messages are always updated, so when I check messenger I don't need to refresh the app.
          Facebook: I get the notification on my screen about the most recent message, when I go to check the new message in the FB messenger app I need to refresh the screen to see that new message. (extremely frustrating when you have sketchy reception)

          I thought it was just my phone however I'm currently using a iphone 5s loan phone (my 6s is in repairs for a unrelated issue) and that does the same thing.

          Also I noticed that Iphones don't connect to telco networks as intended (sometimes) , half the time I need to toggle airplane mode on and off in order to force connect to my telco network, that solution was provided by Apple as it's a known issue (which I think is just shit)

          The thing is, if I had never owned an Android phone I would probably be happy with my iphone as I would have not had anything to compare it with.

          Last edited 16/02/16 2:58 pm

            Ah, I came from Windows Phone to Android, so saw android apps actually running in the background as a waste of battery and resources. Different perspectives I guess, I haven't had any network issues either on my 6s but it is pretty new. About the only thing I miss from Android is chat heads, however given the little bubble was always over whatever I wanted to click I don't miss it too much.

    Proof,yet again that Windows Phone is far superior. No issues winding that clock back. Still functions back in 1601

      More people probably fell for this and bricked there phone than there are windows phone users...

        That's...still not something to be proud of.

          Of course it isn't. It's expected behaviour. Bricking on a date? Now that's embarrassing

            No! It's a security feature that stops people from the past traveling forward in time, stealing your iPhone and taking it back to 1970. You should thank Apple for having the foresight, or in this case the hindsight, to incorporate such an important feature.

            Imagine what could happen if a current iPhone found it's way back to 1970!?! All of a sudden that shiny, new device that gives you all of your street cred would be 46 years behind the times. Your reputation would be in tatters. You'd have no choice but to grow an Amish beard and accept that you really are a hipster. All praise be to Apple for ensuring that particular Armageddon can never come to pass and the fabric of reality is safe for all time (until the next absurd coding blunder in iOS is revealed).

              Already happened.

            Bricking on a date?

            So that is why my date from last night left early, Guess the Curry was a bad idea.

          Hey! If I believed setting my phone back to 1970s would achieve something... Oh you're right! Being that stupid is definitely nothing to be proud of.

          Last edited 15/02/16 10:42 am

            ... and yet people buy iPhones every day and are proud to let the world know about it.

              Or Androids or WinPhones... Why can't people just buy phones and use them?

        Yes, but popularity is a poor judge of anything 😁

      Those 20 Windows Phone users around the world must be so happy right now.

        Oh we are, we are. We've formed a club and everything :D
        Although, there was another 4 users of Windows Phone 10 devices who thought they were too cool for the rest of us...
        A round 20 though is good. We can name ourselves "The Score who Scored!" and get t-shirts and everything.

        After using my Display Dock for my Lumia 950 I got sent for free, I am proud to be one of such a small elite group. Well now that my 15%/hr battery drain was solved by stopping Facebook from running in the background, that said apparently that's not exclusive to Windows users as Apple and Android users can have the same issue.

          Don't gloss over the "got dock for free" bit. How'd you achieve this? 😁

            Anyone with a Lumia 950 (or XL) gets one. Just open the Lumia Offers app on your phone and follow the links. I think its still valid till end of Feb or March.
            Edit :- Considering I got mine from Hardly Normal with a free 200GB Micro SD card for their pre-order it wasn't a bad deal all up for what was an expensive phone.

            Last edited 15/02/16 7:04 pm

        Why? Schadenfreude is not something to be proud of. I genuinely feel sorry for anyone dopey enough to buy an iPhone.

      Funny thing is that a bricked iphone is still more useful than a windows phone... and thats coming from an android user. :)

    Lol, quality things those Apple products... You think the company of "User friendliness" would aim to reduce the number of things that *completely kill your device*...

      Well, if you disconnect and reconnect the battery, it fixes it, so it is annoying, but doesn't completely kill it.
      Still, even though you would have to go out of your way to change the date, the unix bug should be fixed. I guess the next update will block the date going back that far.

        Please explain to me how one disconnects and reconnects the battery when the iPhone neither has a removable back cover nor a removable battery hmmmm?

    So I am guessing either there is no way with an iPhone of wiping the device with a factory OS like I know Windows Phone can do with the Windows Device Recovery Tool. Or maybe there is but the date is still Jan 1 1970 so it still fails? If so an easy fix would be an updated image that sets the date to something after 1970. That can't be that hard.

    Last edited 14/02/16 9:12 pm

      You just disconnect and reconnect the battery and the phone comes back up.

        So a big fuss over nothing then

          Ever seen an iPhone? Did you see a removable cover allowing you to open it to remove the battery?

      You can usually refresh, and at times were even able to roll-back OS versions when connected to a computer.
      You can also reset to factory defaults - which cleare the entire system, but like most devices, you have to be in it to do that

    Stick it into the microwave to fast charge and now this. Ha ha ha, those iPhone users are so funny

    Mine is set to 1/01/1970 and its not bricked, when i click on the photo folders on the phone when plugged into my pc its says 1970

      Hmm, foir whatever reason my photos are all showing that too. Everything on my phone is showing as 1/1/70@1000

    So, what happens when a user does this:
    a) Within warranty.
    b) Out of warranty.

    well obviously its not apples fault and we're just using it wrong.

      Exactly, like not holding the phone right when you're trying to make a phone call. It's not the design of the phone, it's the user's fault.

      "This is an apple phone, you have to hold it how we tell you to hold it."

    I seen iP5's go back to 1/1/70 because the battery went completely flat and the phone hadn't been used in months.

    I've also seen other iP's date/time skew big time if not used/charged for long periods of time. It must regularly recalibrate over the internet.

    In this state, it'll refuse to access the internet. The only fix is to connect it to iTunes or manually set the clock/date to the correct values.

      Funny. When I got my Galaxy S5, I took the battery out of my S4 and it stayed out until recently when I put it back in for my son to use. The phone started up and immediately showed the current time and date.

      I haven't had to reset the date and time on something after removing the batteries or turning the power off since I got rid of my old SLR camera.

      I think Apple may need to get with the times.

        And so did my other phones (excluding Apple) that I've owned.

        Methinks iP's lake any form of CMOS/RT battery because it just uses the internel battery instead.

        Hey Tim Cook, internal batteries go flat too! Hehehe...

    Can't get over all that scrolling to change the date...

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