Setting This Date on a 64-Bit iOS Device Will Brick It

If you own a newer iPhone or iPad, a malicious date-based bug discovered by the folks over at Reddit could end up turning your device into a $500 paperweight.

The 64-bit iOS device bug impacts everyone running an iPhone with iOS 8 or 9, in addition to iPads with A7-A9x processors—but only if the date on your device is changed. Specifically, if your iPad or iPhone is reset to January 1st, 1970, it may become completely unusable.  

It appears the issue may be that setting the date to 1/1/1970 on 64-bit iDevices forces the clock to read as “0”, which Apple doesn’t appreciate. Given that the few trying to replicate this have attempted to recreate the flaw in different timezones, there have been mixed results.

The date-based 64-bit iOS device bug is a bit scary, given that iPhones/iPads sync their date/time with an NTP server. As Reddit user u/vista980622 notes, attackers could exploit this flaw to send malicious NTP requests to devices and, theoretically, force a bricked phone from anywhere.

Initially, iPhone owners were reporting in the original Reddit thread that they found no solution to the bug once the date on their device had been reset, other than bringing it into the Apple Store and having it replaced. However, there seems to be some positive movement on either changing the timezone or just “waiting it out” to enable the device to be usable again.

Still, my money is not attempting to reset the date on your phone or tablet, regardless of any trolling attempts that may appear in your Facebook or Twitter feed in the meantime.