Pranksters exploit massive iOS bug that can brick iPhones and iPads

12 February 2016, 01:54

And so it begins… The above image has begun circulating on the Internet, hoping to catch out those unaware of the serious iOS clock bug, first reported on Mac Kung Fu yesterday, that can brick iPhones, iPads (including Pro), and even the latest iPod Touch.

Although somewhat difficult to stumble upon, the bug is dangerous because of how easy it is to implement. All a malicious interest needs do is open the Settings app, turn off automatic setting of the time/date, set the system clock to Jan 1, 1970 and then restart the device. After this it will refuse to turn back on.

The fix is to manually disconnect the battery, which involves opening up the device and should therefore only be done by an Apple engineer (especially in light of the Error 53 scandal, in which Apple has essentially vetoed non-official repairs).

Functionality will be restored if the device runs out of battery juice and while this might seem the most attractive option, a fully charged device can take weeks to rundown its charge if not in active use.

Savvy commentators are predicting that this weekend will see many demo units at Apple Stores and elsewhere being bricked via this method, akin to devices being destroyed by those curious to discover if the Bendgate scandal was real several years ago. However, it’s likely the special software installed on demonstration model iOS devices will prevent users turning-off the device – although then the bug will lie in wait for when staff do subsequently have cause to reset the device, for whatever reason.

Ensure everybody you know – especially those who are less technically savvy – are fully aware of this bug so that they can watch out for falling prey to it.

The image above allegedly originated from 4Chan, where a similar prank advertisement originated in 2013 claiming that the new iPhone 6 range was waterproof. Several people apparently fell for this, dunking their phones in water and destroying them. An earlier prank claimed the iOS 8 update for iPhones meant they could be charged by putting them into a microwave. This again caused several people to destroy their devices.

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