The most recent beta of iOS 9.3, which was released earlier this week, provided to developers and public beta testers earlier this week, fixes a bug that caused 64-bit iPhones and iPads to be disabled or “bricked” when the date was set to January 1, 1970.
Discovered in mid-February, the “1970” bug occurs whenever an iOS device’s date is manually set to 1970, resulting in a continuous reboot cycle. Speculation has suggested the reboot loop is the result of an integer underflow that causes the iPhone to reset the date to the maximum value, a huge number that iOS devices may be unable to process.
With iOS 9.3 beta 4, the date on the iPhone or iPad can’t be set beyond December 31, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. ET, which equates to 1/1/01 at 12:00 a.m. GMT. That effectively puts an end to the 1970 bug, which was used to trick some people into bricking their devices.
More than that, though, the newest beta actually fixes the bricked devices that were stuck in a boot loop after inputting the date. Those who have tried were successful in restoring their device with the fourth beta:
This update fixed the 1970 date bug. Had two retail units stuck in boot loops do to some pricks setting the date to 1970 and restoring in DFU mode did not help. But restorting to this BETA update made both devices go back to normal.
Previously, there was no clear fix for devices that had been affected by the bug aside from disconnecting the battery, requiring users to go to the Genius Bar at an Apple retail store or attempt risky self-repairs. Apple promised a fix in an “upcoming software update,” which appears to be iOS 9.3.
In addition to this particular fix, iOS 9.3 also includes several new features, such as Night Shift mode, password-protected Notes and additional 3D Touch actions. It’s expected to be released sometime around Apple’s rumored March event, but it’s possible that issues like this could force its hand early.
iOS 9.3 Beta 4 Fixes ‘January 1, 1970’ Date Bug