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The Infamous Trick to Brick Your iPhone

This technique may be more fittingly called an anti-hack; turns out there’s a new iPhone bug that will render your device completely useless, and it’s as simple as setting your iPhone’s clock to January 1, 1970. It’s a strange thing to do for sure, and how exactly this was discovered and what that person’s intentions were in setting their phone to this doubt remains a mystery to me, but regardless, people have discovered that this can ruin a person’s expensive smartphone, and so of course, the internet is running rampant with this information.

Having first surfaced on 4Chan, fake Apple advertisements that encourage people to set their phone to that date have been all over the net and sent via email. The advertisement reads as follows:

ibrick“Blast from the past. The original Macintosh introduced the world to computers, forever changing the way people experience technology, and allowing people to do things that were never possible before. With this easter egg, warp back in time with a classic Macintosh theme to relive the magic on your iPhone Change the data on your iPhone to January 1, 1970, press and hold the power button to reboot your device, and prepare for a wild ride!”

Unfortunately for those hoping to enjoy the fruits of a retro theme, Apple wasn’t even founded until 1976 and your iPhone will turn into a completely useless piece of plastic and silicon. The only way to undo the damage once you’ve done this is to find a Genius Bar appointment, which will take a long, long time.

More tech savvy users will be dismayed to hear that you can’t restore the phone through iTunes, as actual physical fixes (or replacement phones) are necessary to get you back online.

Worried about your device being prone to the evils? The bug is only a problem for 64-bit iOS devices, which encompasses the iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad Mini 2 and newer models down the line.

Experts don’t think that the hackers actually were able to slip this bug into the Apple’s design on purpose; instead, people believe it was likely a bug related to the same Unix glitch that caused Facebook to wish people a happy 46 years of service, if you remember that whole fiasco.

brick2What’s the uniting factor that would cause these glitches to arise in unrelated companies operating under different guidelines? Count 46 years ago… and there’s 1970 again. Turns out that the date January 1st, 1970 or 1/1/70 has an internal value of zero on a Unix system, which causes the software to malfunction.

Not sure exactly what the reason for that is because I’m not a computer programer and I don’t know binary code or how to make software, but it’s likely that any system using Unix may have some kind of issues revolving around that particular date and what happens if you set the device to that date. Luckily, most bugs would have likely already happened, but we’ll see what pops up in the future… Just in general, don’t take advice from poorly written ads like the one quoted above.

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