As previously reported at Lead Stories, there is a hoax floating around the internet claiming that by setting your iPhone to a certain date, you can unlock a secret "retro mode". We would like to reiterate that this is a HOAX! Please avoid setting the date and time to January 1, 1970. People who have done it -- for whatever reasons -- have learned the hard way that it will freeze your phone and turn it into an expensive paperweight.
Here is the FAKE announcement that is circulating the web:
For those of you unlucky enough to have fallen for this hoax, "There's no known way to fix it through software right now," Tech blogger Zach Straley said in a video posted on YouTube February 11, 2016. Take your new brick to an Apple store and you'll find "the geniuses don't know what's up, they just end up replacing your iPhone."
A Reddit post suggested the glitch is caused a conflict resulting from that date being the start of Unix time, a reference point for developers:
Connecting the device to iTunes and restoring the device to factory defaults will not put the device back in working order. Instead, a physical repair is required. When connected to public Wi-Fi, iPhone calibrates its time settings with an NTP server. Theoretically, attackers can send malicious NTP requests to adjust every iPhone's time settings to January 1, 1970, hence brick every iPhone connected to the same network."