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Apple fixes the 1970 date bug in iOS, but why 64-bit iPhone gets bricked?

Apple has stated it is aware of the 1970 date bug issue that has been plaguing the 64-bit iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. Apple also assured remedial measures are being considered and will form part of the next iOS update. The company though declined exactly when the next iOS update will be released except that it will come soon.

The 1970 date bug owes its name to the strange scenario when an iPhone gets bricked when attempting to restart once the system date is set to any date prior to May 1970. In reality, the iPhone enters into an infinite rebooting cycle and continues till the battery drains.

No one knows for sure exactly when or how the issue first came to light which seems to have caught even Apple unawares. The Cupertino company hasn’t offered any explanations so far though YouTuber and programmer Tom Scott believes it might have something to do with the Unix background of the iOS and the way Unix deals with dates.

As per Scott, the issue might be due to an integer underflow that is getting triggered once the date on an iPhone is set closer to January 1, 1970, which is 0 as per UNIX time. iOS responds to the situation ‘by returning the negative integer to the maximum value’ which according to Scott leads to a date that is 20 times longer than the universe is likely to last up to. Handling such a large number might be preventing iOS to perform a proper clean reboot.

The UNIX time starts at 00:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970.

Some claimed to have brought a bricked iPhone back to life by waiting till the battery has drained completely and connecting to a charger thereafter.

Another way the 1970 date bug can be fixed, and an aggressive way at that is by prizing open the iPhone and replacing the battery though it runs the risk of voiding applicable warranty coverage. The device too can get damaged if performed via unauthorized means and without proper tools and equipment.

However, another safe method of fixing a bricked iPhone will be to put it into Device Firmware Update or DFU mode. This can be done by connecting the iPhone to a computer and open iTunes followed by pressing and holding down both the power and home buttons for about 10 seconds or till the screen goes black.

Once the screen is black, the power button needs to be released while continuing to hold on to the home button. This will prompt iTunes to recognize the iPhone though it could take anywhere between a few minutes to even an hour for the iPhone to get recognized.

Once the iPhone is listed, it needs to be set up as a brand new device instead of recovering from a backup.

Alternatively, maybe the simplest option will be to walk to an Apple Store and leave it on to a Genius to set things right.