Hoaxes & Rumors

Don’t Set Your iPhone to 1970

Don’t Set Your iPhone to 1970

A meme suggests that you can get a special theme on your iPhone by setting the date to 1970. It’s a trick that could ruin your device.

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“Blast From the Past” Meme

The meme, which has been seen circulating on social media in February 2016 claims that setting your phone to January 1, 1970 will unlock an “easter egg” hidden classic Macintosh theme. The reality is that setting your iPhone to that date could completely disable your device.

iphone trick

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!

As pointed out by Wired, a glitch has been uncovered on 64-bit iOS devices (iPhone 5S and higher, iPad Air, and iPad Mini 2) in which a 1/1/70 date causes the software to “freakout” because that date has a value of zero on Unix systems. Restoring your phone after setting that date will be difficult. “You’ll need an actual physical fix, or possibly a new phone.” Wired tells us.

It has been speculated that the meme, which is clearly designed to trick people into damaging their phones, originated with 4Chan.

A similar meme circulated back in 2013 (and again in 2014) which attempted to fool consumers into placing their phones in microwave ovens which supposedly made the battery charge quickly. Another “waterproof” meme also made its rounds at that time.

Update Via Apple

On February 15, 2016 Apple posted a page which addresses this issue. It confirms that “Manually changing the date to May 1970 or earlier can prevent your iOS device from turning on after a restart.”

Although there is no solution offered for those who have changed their dates, Apple does note that “An upcoming software update will prevent this issue from affecting iOS devices.”

Bottom Line

The meme which states that setting your iPhone to January 1, 1970 will unlock a special theme is actually a trick to get you to damage your device, perhaps permanently. Apple has stated that it will fix the problem in an upcoming software update.

Updated February 17, 2016

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