Apple is aware of the 1970 date bug and will release a software update to fix the issue, according to a support document published on Monday.
Void of many details, Apple (AAPL) acknowledges changing the date on an iOS device to May 1970 or earlier “can prevent your iOS device from turning on after a restart.”
Apple then asks users who have a bricked iOS device to contact Apple Support for help.
No one really knows why or how the bug was first discovered, but after it was revealed, users began testing the claim or trying to trick other people into changing the date on their device. Last week, videos and news reports surfaced showing what happens to an iOS device running iOS 8 or newer, after turning back the date some 46 years.
Once the date is changed and the iOS device is restarted, the Apple logo appears on the screen and nothing more happens. Try as it might, the Apple device is unable to finish booting up.
Until Apple releases a fix, there are three more possible solutions that users with a broken device can try. Some people have reported that waiting until the battery on the iOS device has completely drained and then connecting to a charger will bring the it back to life.
Testing done by MacNN also indicates that disconnecting the device’s battery can help. Once with battery is reconnected, it will power up as expected (though you may have to restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup).
However, this option isn’t the best idea, especially if your iOS device is still under warranty. Taking apart an Apple product on your own, or using a third-party repair shop, voids the warranty on your device. Not to mention, you’ll need specialized tools in order to properly take apart an iOS device and put it back together.
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But the third option may be the easiest and safest of all: Put your iOS device into what’s called DFU mode (device firmware update) and restore it using iTunes on a computer.
To put an iOS device into DFU mode, connect it to a computer and open iTunes. With the device powered on, hold in the power and home button on the device for roughly 10 seconds, or until the screen goes black. Once the screen goes black, let go of the power button while continuing to hold the home button.
According to MacNN, iTunes will eventually recognize the device is connected and in recovery mode. When prompted, opt to set up the device as brand new instead of restoring from a backup.
For more on Apple watch our video.
Seven out of the 10 instances where MacNN used this method to fix a bricked iOS device, it took nearly an hour for iTunes to recognize the device was connected and in recovery mode. In other words, once you successfully put your iOS device into recovery mode, be patient. On three occasions, iTunes recognized the device instantly.
For complete instructions on fixing this unusual bug should you have fallen victim to a prank, you can read MacNN’s post. Or, if you’d rather just leave it to the professionals, book an appointment at your local Apple Store and have a Genius take a look.