This iOS time and date bug could permanently brick your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
posted by Ben R. / Feb 11, 2016, 12:35 PM
the error 53 story, which revealed that the Apple iPhone can be rendered completely useless if unofficial repairs to the Touch ID component have taken place, a video has surfaced online that apparently shows how a device can be bricked by means of a fairly innocuous software trick.
As seen in the video below and noted by several others apparently affected by the bug, changing the date to January 1st 1970 and rebooting results in a non-functioning handset. After the reboot, the handset can be placed into DFU mode and recognized by iTunes. But even after a restore, it gets caught in a boot loop and cannot be used.
Affected devices are said to be those running a 64-bit processor. Specifically, this includes the iPhone 5 and newer, iPad Air / iPad mini 2 and up, and the 6th-gen iPod touch. If your device is older than any of the above, then this bug will not affect your device.
There's nothing to be too alarmed about here, for the bug apparently won't affect you unless you deliberately expose it. It's very likely that your device will cease to function, and you'll probably be forced to take a trip to the Apple Store. Presumably, Apple will be able to repair or replace devices affected by this bug, and above all, we'd expect a fix for this strange issue to manifest itself in the next software update.
Check the video demo of the bug in action below, and let us know of your thoughts via the comments.
Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014
I have tried this on Android and confirm that there is no such issue at this time.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 12:42 PM 12
Android does have it, it's just another date you have to set it to. You gotta try every day possible starting from 1940's.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 12:46 PM 3
Of course. It's just a matter of figuring it out. In some time zones, setting the date to 1 Jan 1970 will set the internal clock to a number less than zero, as the time is stored in GMT (as the number of seconds since midnight on that date) and then the offset is applied before display. In other time zones, setting the clock will result in a positive time value. This is triggered by having the time value less than zero
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 12:51 PM 1
Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013
Lol Yea no, Android has no such bug because the internal system clock doesn't depend on the millisecond. There is a "long" primitive that tracks how long it has been since Jan 1970 and it can go negative. Once an app tries to use that number, if it doesn't have a check to handle a less than 0 value it might crash. Apps that depend on that might break but the system itself does not track the time using that method. Regardless, this issue will not happen with OSX, Windows or Android because none of the developers on that side of the pond were stupid enough to link system functions with the millisecond counter used by the front end of the system without a security check.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 3:58 PM 3
Wow, I'm trying to imagine how someone came across that bug... Maybe someone sold it as a time machine to a clueless user. Apple users will believe anything...
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 12:44 PM 10
Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013
It is a simple thing to set the clock back 50 years to fool around. See how far you can go, someone was bound to do it. Sad thing is, someone at the iOS development team with system level programming access decided not to do a
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 4:48 PM 0
Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014
"Affected devices are said to be those running a 64-bit processor. Specifically, this includes the iPhone 5 and newer" iP5 doesn't have 64 bit soc
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 12:47 PM 2
Posts: 2349; Member since: Aug 01, 2015
I'm guessing they forgot to add the "S"
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 12:57 PM 1
Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 17, 2015
I wonder what's significant about Jan 1, 1970.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 12:49 PM 0
Posts: 976; Member since: May 13, 2009
The Unix epoch is the time 00:00:00 UTC on 1 January 1970. So setting it before that, the phone does not know what time it is, confuses the system, freaks out and bricks itself in confusion. Just like error 53, its another part of coding they simply need to change "true" to "false", or the reverse.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 1:16 PM 10
Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013
What idiot would do this? Oh wait, the potential with iOS must really be high. Or you basically would have to be high. The time and date is set by the network on the phone, so how would it ever be an issue? Who would ever do this? The idiot who even found this bug, needs a life. Get out the basement dude, and get some human interaction.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 1:49 PM 5
Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014
Simply security researchers exposing all the bugs and vulnerabilities apple just sweeps under the rug and calls it a day. Security by obscurity ain't security, and apple needs to fix that in all their software...
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 2:01 PM 1
Posts: 223; Member since: Sep 15, 2012
The iPhone is just there to remind us that almost nothing good emerged from the 1970s.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 1:57 PM 0
Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014
I don't know, RAM and Floppy disk were invented in 1970 amongst other things :P but yeah I get what you mean.
posted on Feb 11, 2016, 1:59 PM 0
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