The Blast From The Past That Bricks Your iPhone

In case you haven’t caught up with the latest tech news, there is a malicious prank doing the rounds of social media at the moment that purports to provide a retro styled theme to iPhone users. According to internet rumour debunking site snopes.com, “In February 2016, a rumor began to spread that iPhones and iPads contain a nifty Easter egg: If you set the date of your Apple product to 1 January 1970 then reboot, it will bring up a retro-themed menu based on the old Apple computer operating systems.”

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Commonly titled the ‘Blast from the Past’, the trolls that perpetuate this prank are purely taking advantage of a bug that exists in all iOS 8 or iOS 9 with 64-bit processors, including the latest iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. The problem is that by setting your device to January 1, 1970 you will inadvertently crash the system and render your device inoperable. To make matters worse there is no known fix for the problem, although some are reporting that they have been able to restore from a recent backup withing iTunes, or by performing a Device Firmware Update (DFU).

As a standalone problem the ‘Blast from the Past’ prank isn’t too serious. Setting the date to January 1, 1970 is an onerous task that requires several attempts to scroll back far enough to find the date in the first instance. However, with the recent spate of Error 53 messages from iPhone users with Touch ID sensors coupled with the voluntary recall of AC wall plug adapters designed for use in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Continental Europe, New Zealand and South Korea going back to 2003; Apple fans might be wondering what’s going on with their favourite brand.