Hey Apple! iOS 12 Screentime / Downtime isn’t secure

Hey Apple! iOS 12 Screentime / Downtime isn’t secure

In an effort to limit device time on my 13 year old son’s iPad and iPhone, I was excited to see the new Downtime feature in the iOS 12 Screentime update.  While a bit of configuration was required, I had setup everything to limit his access to apps to 2 hours total per day.

Two days later he had figured out how to get around this limit and gain unlimited time on the devices despite not having the Screentime setup password.  I’ve tried the various contact forms on the iOS and Apple Developer sites, but have had no feedback.

Parents, if you think this feature is going to work, it’s not.  Here is the simple work around that my son discovered.  Once the apps are disabled after the time allotment, all of the apps are grayed out.   Basic System apps, however are not, including the Settings app.  Once the time limit has been reached, you simply click on the Settings App,  Click on the General Tab, Click on the Date & Time setting, Turn off “Set Automatically”, then change the date to any date in the future.  As soon as the system thinks there is a new day, the Downtime resets and full access to apps is restored.

This is a very obvious flaw in the system that needs to be fixed.  My feeling is that when Downtime is activated, especially when you have selected “This is my Child’s device” during the setup of the Screentime feature, that the Settings app should be disabled as well, or at least you should have the option to do that.

Apple, please fix this ASAP.

Leave a Reply