Why Setting an iPhone to 1970 Sucks

31st August 2016 by in category Hardware tagged as , , , , , with 0 and 0
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Believe us: setting an iPhone to 1970 wouldn’t reverse the aging process

iPhone 1970 image

Memo to reader: this is not what will happen if you set your iPhone to 1970. Device image by PhIllStudio (via Shutterstock). Screengrab: David Webb’s winning goal versus Leeds United (courtesy of ITV Sport, 1970).

Some older readers of our blog may be able to remember 1970 for a few things. Topping the viewing figures were On The Buses and Steptoe and Son. The Beatles had split up, and Chelsea won the F.A. Cup Final after a replay at Old Trafford. In computer terms, 1970 was a significant year. It is the earliest year one can get to on UNIX-based systems – such as Apple’s operating systems for its iPhones, iPads, and its Macs.

Why, may you ask, did UNIX developers choose 1970? Apart from the fact it was developed in the seventies, it was an easy year to build a ticking clock from for the operating system. So New Year’s Day 1970 was chosen. The clock of any UNIX-based system is created by means of integers. Zero is the very point when Big Ben chimed its way into the 1970s. In numerical terms, 01/01/1970 00:00:00.

Where does the iPhone come into this? iOS is derived from UNIX – alongside MacOS, Amiga Workbench, and any Linux distro one cares to mention. How does this have an affect on your iPhone? Setting your date to the 01/01/1970 will crash your device. It would render your device as useless.

This video clip explains why 1970 has an effect on your iPhone or iPad.

Up to iOS 9.3, taking your iOS powered device back to 1970 meant the end of your smartphone or digital tablet. In February 2016, as stated on the Apple website, this bug was rectified after the release of iOS 9.3. With this fix, you can resurrect your device by plugging it into your computer (via the USB port). Then by pressing and holding both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons. Shortly, the Connect to iTunes screen should appear on your device.

By the end of this year, iOS 10 should be due out. This will include improvements to Siri and the expansion of its 3D Touch features. Immediately after the IFA Trade Fair (02 – 07 September 2016), Apple aim to launch iPhone 7. Whether you’ll be able to set that to 1970 is another story, but we won’t be queueing in the early hours for the sole purpose of buying one, then bricking a bleeding edge smartphone for kicks. We have better things to do.

Silicon Valley Specialists, 31 August 2016.

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