January 1, 1970. If you've been around tech a long time, you might have seen that date pop up on your computer screen. It's the default date that appears on older computers after completely losing power to the motherboard.
The reason for that particular date is because of an early operating system called Unix. To make a long story short, Unix tells time by counting every second that has elapsed since 00:00:00 UTC, January 1, 1970. When it loses that count, say due to power loss, it goes back to the beginning. But what does this have to do with the modern iPhone and iPad?
The iOS operating system that runs the iPhone and iPad is based on Apple's Mac OSX, which is based on BSD, which is based on Unix. Some of the Unix DNA survived, and could be behind a scary new problem for Apple gadget owners. This problem applies to the iPhone 5s or newer, the iPad Air or newer, the iPhone mini 2 or newer or the sixth generation iPod touch or newer.
Hackers and researchers have found that setting your Apple gadget to January 1, 1970, causes the gadget to lock up on the next reboot. In fact, it locks it up so completely, even an iTunes restore won't work. You'll need to get a replacement gadget from Apple.