Apple promises a fix for iPhone bricking stemming from date and time bug

By , Feb 15, 2016

iOS 9 Date and Time iPhone screenshot 002

A newly published support document from Apple, which was first discovered by German blog, has acknowledged an issue where any 64-bit iPhone could be bricked by setting the date back to a specific time, causing it to fail to boot properly and requiring a physical repair to put the device back into working order.

According to the document, a permanent fix for the problem will be released as part of a future software update. Meanwhile, the affected iPhone owners are advised to contact Apple Support.

“Manually changing the date to May 1970 or earlier can prevent your iOS device from turning on after a restart,” notes Apple.

“An upcoming software update will prevent this issue from affecting iOS devices. If you have this issue, contact Apple Support,“ reads the support doc.

The issue was first reported last week in a Reddit thread and has since blown up.

To reproduce the issue, you would need to go to Settings → General → Date & Time and flip the switch next to the Set Automatically to the OFF position.

You would then need to change the date to January 1, 1970. You should be able to hit this date by scrolling up to get to year 2000, then go back, into Date & Time settings again and repeat the process until you reach 1970.

As a final step, you would need to reboot your device, which would cause it to get bricked and neither a DFU restore nor Recovery mode would un-brick it.

Needless to say, readers are highly discouraged from trying this on their iPhone.

Source: Apple via (Google Translate)

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • So it will be ios 9.4 maybe

    • Troy

      Most likely it will be fix on the upcoming 9.3 beta

    • iPhoneWINS

  • Rowan09

    So if someone has a phone out of warranty like an iPhone 5S and does this they’ll get a new one or have it fixed?

    • Cazz

      it has to get replaced…

      • iPhoneWINS

        no it does not

    • 5723alex .

      If someone is stupid enough to brick his iPhone he won’t get a replacement, but he can fix it by himself or at an unauthorized repair shop. It is easy, just open the back and release the battery for couple of seconds.

    • rfow

      If you know someone who has done this on an iPhone 5s, 6, or 6 Plus that is now out of warranty, they can still bring it in to the bar for this issue and get help. The fix does not require components to be replaced, it only requires a component to be disconnected and reconnected.

      • Rowan09

        Ok so this isn’t really bricking the device then. If all I need to do is disconnect the battery then that’s a simple fix that any tech or handy person can do.

      • John


    • Jackson Grong

      I read multiple people saying the iPhone will boot after the battery is drained from booting then recharged, very laggy but it’s possible to go into settings and turn the automatic switch on.

      • Makes sense, they battery holds a tiny amount of power to keep the device’s settings in-tact. Computers have this too, it’s a little watch battery that provides the CMOS with power to save the internal clock settings. Removing this power source will result in those settings being lost.

      • Rowan09

        The circuit board should have tiny capacitors and they store energy.

  • iPhoneWINS

    what about the home button issue? hmmmm

  • iPhoneWINS

    Here comes IOS

  • Chris Wagers

    I wonder why they even give you the ability to change the date manually that far back? I could see a day or 2 but years back… Why?

    • John

      Thats actually a good question. Never thought of that.

  • Diego

    Just let the battery goes completally off, this make the phone back to a previous state.
    This way the date will be set after you restart your phone..

  • I had to try it, sorry Target

  • iByron

    I get that this should be fixed, but why would someone need to manually set the date on their iPhone to January 1970 in the first place?

    Just trying to figure that part out.

    • Chris Wagers

      Not sure if I posted this question first or you did. Sorry if I posted after you and repeated the question.

  • Aluratek

    what do you do with a new Device. would you explore it to the Limite or would you just use it like 99% of the population do.. since we all here.. meaning we want to exploited the device to the limite. by JB or by finding new bugs.

    if you have extend warrantee and don’t know how to brick device this is best way.. i have did this and bring it back to retail store and they end up giving me a new one.. because i have extend warrantee, it is not recommend to ppl with no extend warrantee to try it.

    make sure you have soem kind of cooling fan to cool down the phone if you want to let it drain out the battery. it does get really really warm..

  • M_Hawke

    I still cannot comprehend why this is a problem. Why would someone want to set the phone’s date to then? Why would someone go through so many steps to want this? How did anyone find out this is a problem and why? This is like saying, “Whatever you do, child, don’t get a chair and get the container of beans and stuff one up your nose.” Yep, he’s going to do it. 🙂