After Error 53, and the website link that causes Safari to crash, Apple iPhone and other iOS users have another possible problem to watch out for. Resetting the date to January 1, 1970 in iPhones, iPads and iPods running iOS 8 and above, will cause these to get permanently bricked.
A Reddit thread discussion has highlighted the issue and based on the discussion quite a people appeared to have tried setting the date back to Jan 1, 1970. Some found that their iPhones were not rebooting. Some said that the iPhone did come back to life, but it was really laggy and slow after the ‘time-travel’.
According to the post, the issue appears with 64-bit iOS devices and even connecting the device to iTunes will not restore it to “factory defaults” and an actual physical repair is required.
The post adds, “When connected to public Wi-Fi, iPhone calibrates its time settings with an NTP server. Theoretically, attackers can send malicious NTP requests to adjust every iPhone’s time settings to January 1, 1970, hence brick every iPhone connected to the same network. According to /u/sarrius, worldwide Apple Store are being made aware that disconnecting the battery and reconnecting fixes the issue. It should be common knowledge to all stores worldwide by tomorrow.”
According to 9to5Mac, “this bug affects any iOS device that uses a 64-bit processor and is running iOS 8 or newer, including iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches,” but anyone with a 32-bit processor should be fine.
Another reason given on the Reddit thread for the bug is the possible shift in timezone, and the fact that Jan 1 1970, sets the clock to a value less than zero (for some time zones) which causes the crash. Some users have also put out videos of their devices getting bricked after they set the iPhone to January 1, 1970.
Our advice: Don’t try it or let anyone else do it on your iPhone, especially if your Apple device is out of warranty. Read more on this bug here.