A new iPhone hoax has been making the rounds over the past few days promising users a retro experience if they manually set the date on their iPhones back to January 01, 1970. But unfortunately, what it delivers is a bricked phone.
The fraudulent image claims the experience is an Easter Egg created by Apple to give users the classic Macintosh theme and promises a "wild ride." Well, yeah...if by "wild ride" they mean the infuriating experience of rendering your Apple device completely and utterly useless.
The graphic reads:
Blast from the past
The original Macintosh introduced the world to computers, forever changing the way people experience technology, and allowing people to do things that were never possible before. With this easter egg, warp back in time with a classic Macintosh theme to relive the magic on your iPhone. Change the date on your iPhone to January 1, 1970, press and hold the power button to reboot your device, and prepare for a wild ride!
For techies out there, a little clue exists in the date: 1970. Apple wasn't even founded until 1976. So why 1970? The hoax is taking advantage of a well documented bug in Apple's 64-bit iOS. The Apple OS is loosely based on the Linux system (which has a similar bug) and theories abound that it has something to do with setting the date and time to a value that is stored in the device as zero or less than zero. So upon reboot, any processes that require a time stamp will fail.
Because the bug is in the 64-bit iOS itself (not just in the phone), devices like iPhone 5S and up, iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and the 2015 sixth generation iPod touch or newer are also vulnerable. And yes, if you have a shiny new iPhone 6, 6 Plus or 6S, this means YOU!
According to reports, the graphic first popped up on 4Chan on Thursday and then quickly spread to Facebook and Reddit. Pranksters have even begun trolling Apple stores and bricking demo phones. Before you decide to test the theory on your own device, don't. Some Reddit users have already bricked their phones in an attempt to disprove the bug.
Basic lessons learned today? Don't do everything the internet tells you to do.
For further proof, check out the video below from YouTuber Zach Straley as he demonstrates exactly what happens when you set the date back on your iOS.