Apple releases fix for ‘1970-bricked’ iPhones with new beta update

CALIFORNIA: Apple has released a fix for iPhones that have been bricked by users setting their dates back to 1970. The latest release, iOS 9.3 beta 4, which is part of Apple’s public beta programme, is a test build designed for use by enthusiasts, and will restore an iPhone 5S or newer rendered inoperable by the 1970 date bug to working condition through iTunes.

The date bug prevented 64-bit iOS devices from booting up, rendering them inoperable even through fail-safe restore methods using iTunes. According to Reddit user Spockers, restoring the iPhone using the beta software through iTunes will allow it to be used again. A MacRumours forum user also confirmed that the iOS 9.3 beta 4 update had restored iPhones bricked by pranksters in an Apple Store.

Another Reddit user, Vista980622, confirmed that the update would prevent users from setting the date beyond the 1 January 2001. The update also prevents hackers from deliberately bricking users’ iPhones by tricking them into setting the date to 1 January 1970 using the smartphone’s built-in automatic time adjustment function.

The update will be rolled out to all users of iPhone 4S or iPad mini or newer models in the near future. Those who have bricked their iPhones on purpose using the 1970 date bug can enrol in Apple’s beta testing programme to get access to the software update early.