iOS Users Receiving Ghost Emails From 1st January 1970

Ali Salman
Posted Mar 7, 2016
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A few weeks ago, there was a bug discovered in Apple’s iOS that had the potential to permanently brick a user’s iPhone. When users went back in time and changed their device’s date to 1st January 1970, then restarted their device, it would no longer turn on. Even though the company took care of it in an update, it seems like the bug is haunting once more.

iPhone 4s

iOS Users Receiving Ghost Emails From The 70’s

Some iOS users have reported receiving ghost emails from 1st January 1970. Yes! It does sound scary. Quite a handful of iOS users are tweeting screenshots of the ghost emails being sent from 1st January 1970. The Telegraph reports that these ghost emails have no sender, content or subject. Moreover, these emails cannot be deleted.

As glad as we were about the fix of 1970 bug, the date eloped back with another weird glitch. Users experiencing this problem should not worry about it though, the ghost emails do no harm to the firmware nor the device. A Reddit user explained the 1st January, 1970 glitch as: The specific date enacts as zero, so if for some reason the correct date goes missing, iOS Mail app would default to this one.

The way it works is that the date is stored as a continuously increasing collection of over a billion seconds (ignores timezone conversions, easy for computers to handle in binary). This is typically called Unix time or Epoch time. For example, the current time right now (in this format) is about 1.45 billion. Like I said, it’s easy for a computer to handle this number to store the date in binary, especially on a 64-bit device. Well, if it’s 1.45 billion right now, what’s 0? The answer is January 1st, 1970, at midnight.

Ghost emails in the iOS Mail app seem to appear when a user changes timezone. However, most iOS users facing the same glitch are not affected by it. If the glitch still bothers you, you can quit the iOS Mail app and reset the device. Simply press and hold the Power and Home button to reset your device. Once the Apple logo is displayed, release the buttons. This seems to remove the ghost emails and prevents them reappearing in the app.

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Probably, Apple will take care of this glitch in the near future. For now, you can use this reset process to stop them. This is it for now, folks. Has your iPhone received any ghost emails from the 70’s? Let us know in the comments.

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