Just a few days ago, a prankster had opened a Reddit thread that claimed there was a hidden Easter egg feature in Apple devices. If the users dial the date back to Jan. 1, 1970, and restart it, the lockscreen would display the iconic Apple logo with rainbow colours.
Many Apple fans eagerly in their pursuit to unlock the Easter egg, fell prey to a cruel prank. It was later revealed that by dialling the date to Jan 1., 1970, one would actually brick the device permanently. As of now, there is neither a permanent nor a temporary solution to fix the issue and even the company's customer care department is unable to restore the device.
Taking cognisance of the numerous complaints on the company's consumer forum, Apple has officially acknowledged the date bug issue and released a statement that it is working to release an update to fix the glitch soon.
"Manually changing the date to May 1970 or earlier can prevent your iOS device from turning on after a restart. An upcoming software update will prevent this issue from affecting iOS devices. If you have this issue, contact Apple Support," Apple said on the official support page.
From what we have gathered, this iOS bug affects only the 64-bit class iPhones, iPods and iPads running iOS 8.0 or a higher operating system version.
This means that iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, iPad Air, Air 2, iPad Mini 2, 3, 4, iPad Pro and iPod (6th generation) are all vulnerable to this iOS date bug.
Why Apple devices get bricked when date is dialed back to Jan. 1, 1970?
YouTube sensation Tom Scott seems to have a logical explanation for the iOS date bug. He says that setting the date close to Jan. 1, 1970, which is 0 in Unix time, could trigger "integer underflow caused by the Unix epoch."
Back in 1970s, the early stage in the development of Unix computing system, developers, in their bid to avoid complexity to represent dates and time, set Jan. 1, 1970, as the starting date for all the devices. It continues to be used in iOS to this day, for all the date applications incorporated in all Apple smart devices.
So, if the user changes the device's date back to Jan 1., 1970, it will become very hard for iOS to handle all apps and processes that require timestamp to fail and eventually resulting in hard bricking of the device. [Check out the Tom Scott video detailing the iOS date bug, HERE]