iOS undeletable emails from 1970

iOS has been hit with another strange bug which causes users to receive ghost emails from 1969 and 1970 that cannot be deleted.

As some Reddit users have discovered, an error with the mail server not downloading the headers correctly appears to be causing some iPhone owners to receive undeletable ‘null’ emails dated back to December 31, 1969 or January 1, 1970.

It’s unclear if this issue is related to the infamous ‘January 1, 1970’ bug which can brick some devices and that Apple has fixed in the forthcoming iOS 9.3 software update. We have reached out to Apple asking them to comment on the new issue and will report if we receive a reply.

One commenter on Reddit explains that the issue probably stems from the way iOS handles UNIX time, or Epoch time as it’s also called. In UNIX time, January 1, 1970, at midnight, is the starting time when counting started.

“The date of January 1st, 1970 simply means there’s no data for the date,” reads the post. “No one crafted the email maliciously, it just has no data.”

If the date stamp on some of your emails is set to 1970 and you cannot delete these messages, try disabling your Mail account in Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Now exit Settings and go to Mail and the null messages should be gone. Go back to Settings and re-enable your email account. This issue only seems to affect Apple’s stock Mail app and when changing time zones.

Screenshots via The Telegraph.

Source: Reddit

  • Stefano

    All the time. This has been a reoccurring issue since the beginning of email on iPhone. Definitely not new.

  • Connecting Mac User 

    Why everyone talking bout this on Reddit. I thought there’s already Apple support on twitter to shed all the tears 🙂 Just saying

  • This happened to me, in fact, that’s my Reddit post that you linked to above. I left it there for about a week, once, after a reboot the date changed to 01.01.2001 for about an hour and the went back to 1970. Removing my outlook account from my phone and then re-adding it fixed the email issue.

  • irfan abazi

    im have a video on my iphone 1 January 1970
    don’t know how it came

  • Blip dude

    Umm, this is definitely nothing new. I’ve had this occur even when I had the first gen iPhone. I’m just surprised that it’s apparently taken until to become a big deal. However, I haven’t had this issue since iOS 5. I figured it has been fixed.

  • Manuel Molina

    Thats the date when Steve jobs thought of making the iPhone. That’s why it bricks phones and the mail comes up. It stopped the world.

  • Gerardo Castro

    Maybe it’s a time traveler stuck in that time

  • Benedict

    Just another scenario where Android is superior by updating system apps via Play Store. There is nothing better to get the latest fixes though you have 4 year old phone.. 😉

    But yeah this is a minor bug.