This is why you shouldn't change your iPhone date to Jan 1, 1970

A VIRAL message encouraging iPhone users to manually set the date of their devices to January 1, 1970 has been exposed a another bug that could '˜kill' iPhones.

A number of iPhones have already been 'bricked' after users attempted to unlock the non-existent 'retro theme'. Picture: Contributed

The bug - described as an ‘easter egg’ that would display a retro Apple logo theme on devices - reportedly came to light on the 4Chan website last week.

Along with a Photoshopped image of the original rainbow Apple logo, a message headlined ‘Blast from the past’ read: “The original Macintosh introduced the world to computers, forever changing the way people experience technology, and allowing people to do things that were never possible before. With this easter egg, warp back in time with a classic Macintosh theme to relive the magic on your iPhone.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Change the date on your iPhone to January 1, 1970, press and hold the power button to reboot your device, and prepare for a wild ride!”

It's a trap: The spoof message looks genuine but could render your device useless

But altering the date on newer iPhone models can have serious, potentially irreversible effects.

Attempting to change the date on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches with 64-bit processors operating iOS8 or iOS9 could render devices useless.

Phones from the iPhone 5S model onwards, the iPad Air, iPad Mini 2 and sixth generation iPod Touch (dating from 2015) are all susceptible to the bug.

Although the exact cause of the flaw has not been identified, one theory centres on the the way that iOS stores date and time formats.

It's a trap: The spoof message looks genuine but could render your device useless

If this theory is correct, and January 1, 1970 is recognised as a value of zero, or less than zero, this could be causing every process that requires the use of the time stamp to crash.

The bug comes just weeks after the notorious ‘error 53’ issue came to light.

The Scotsman suggests that curious users avoid manually resetting the date on their Apple devices to avoid

Apple has confirmed that it is looking into reports of the ‘January1, 1970’ bug.