Talk about a blast from the past. Certain iPhone users have been getting mysterious emails. These emails have no subject line, no identified sender and nothing in the body of the email. It does however, have a date: January 1, 1970.
Is it the ghost of iPhones past? The ghost of Steve Jobs? Not so fast. It's actually the result of what we in the tech industry call a glitch - and a fairly common one at that.
If you've been around tech a long time, you might have seen "January 1, 1970" pop up on your computer screen once or twice. It's the default date that appears on older computers after completely losing power to the motherboard. Plus, just last month Komando.com issued you a warning about an iOS bug that will damage your phone beyond repair if you set your phone's date to January 1, 1970. Why anyone would want to do that is questionable, but either way, it bricks your phone, so don't try it.
So what's so important about January 1, 1970? The mystery emails have puzzled thousands, and many confused recipients have taken to social media, mainly Twitter, to try and put all the pieces together.
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? Turns out, the emails are a result of a glitch that affects iPhone users who have checked their email in a time zone different from their home.
Apple is still looking into it, but the best guess is that iOS sees the date January 1, 1970, as either zero or a negative number, and that causes some or all of the iOS functions that require a date to crash. So, the iPhones are simply resetting the dates back to their default time, which just so happens to be January 1, 1970.
Casually got an email from 1970 pic.twitter.com/dfc3D32n3S
— Jordaroo (@Jordan_Fearnley) February 24, 2016