Forget ‘Error 53’: Brick Your iPhone By Setting It To This Date In 1970

Bricking your iPhone has never been easier. There’s been a lot of talk about Apple’s Error 53 over the past few days, but thanks to a few brave souls on the internet, iPhone users have found yet another way to brick their iPhone.

Apparently, setting the date on an iPhone to January 1, 1970, will immediately brick the device. The Guardian reports that this iPhone trick will cause the Apple device to get stuck while trying to boot back up if it’s switched off.


Samuel Gibbs writes, “The bug within Apple’s date and time settings within iOS causes such an issue that users are reporting that the fail-safe restore techniques using iTunes are not able to repair the problem.”

This new date bug affects iPhones, iPads, and even iPod touches that have 64-bit processors running iOS 8 or iOS 9. This includes the iPhone 5s, the iPad Air, and the iPad mini 2.

Apple has said that they’re looking into it.

Gibbs continues, “The precise cause of the issue has not been confirmed, although speculation points to the way iOS stores date and time formats meaning that 1 January 1970 is stored as a value of zero or less than zero, causing every other process that requires the time stamp to fail.”

If you want to brick an iPhone of one of your friends, or your own, it’s going to be quite a long process. Setting the date so far back requires a lot of scrolling, but that hasn’t stopped a few people from going to the Apple Store to brick their in-house devices.

If you have anxiety about friends who may want to brick your iPhone, then set a password. But even that might not be enough to save your device from hackers. Apparently, malicious attackers could bypass your iPhone if it’s connected to a public Wi-Fi network and brick the device that way.

Samuel Gibbs writes, “Jailbroken iPhone users can protect themselves by using several tweaks that prevent the date being set to 1970. Other users can protect themselves by not turning their iPhones off, manually setting the time and date and turning off automatic time changes.”

As for the Error 53 mess, Apple has since changed its stance on the matter. iDigital Times reports that Apple is going back on their original stance about the Error 53 message.

“Normally they [Apple technicians] won’t touch a device that has been repaired by a third party,” said an Apple Support worker. “Having any kind of repairs done outside of an Apple Store basically voids the hardware warranty, because if, for example, something was hooked up incorrectly it can cause a whole bunch of issues.”

But since the Error 53 message has led to a whole lot of lawsuit allegations, Apple has since left it up to each individual Apple Store to decide whether they want to fix the issue.


“Apple is just another manufacturer trying to use their monopoly to block third party repair,” iFixit co-founder Kyle Wiens said. “This isn’t a new issue — auto manufacturers have also tried to lock out local mechanics. It took ‘ Right to Repair’ legislation to force the automakers to do the same thing.”

Seattle-based law firm PCVA may soon launch a lawsuit against Apple. It wrote a statement on their homepage, reading, “We believe that Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most third party repair shops. Where you could get your screen replaced by a neighborhood repair facility for $50-80, Apple charges $129 or more. There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products.”

Apple is working on the problem with the iPhone date bug right now.

[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]