Apple is working on a fix for the ‘1970 bug’
The bug caused iPhones to crash when their date was set to 1/1/1970, a surprise to many users who thought, thanks to 4chan, that it would show them a retro Apple logo. For those foolhardy enough to believe anything originating on 4chan, setting phones back to the date caused iPhones to brick, with no apparent fix. Even experts in Apple’s Genius Bars were unable to fix the problem.
According to Ars Technica and YouTuber Tom Scott, there’s a reason the date change bricks the phone — and it’s all to do with Unix. 1/1/1970 is, apparently, the first date in Unix time. For iPhones, time is displayed as a single integer which represents the number of seconds since 1970. Changing the time back to 1st January means the value is zero, and anything before that is a negative number — which causes the phone to crash. Apple hasn’t yet confirmed that this is the cause of the bug.
There are a few things to do if your phone has been afflicted with the bug — remove the battery yourself, which is risky, or just leave it to run out of charge. You can also wait for Apple’s update — it says the patch will be coming soon.