Apple has promised to fix a bug in iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices that may affect Screen Time restrictions for kids, The Wall Street Journal has reported. It affects a function called Downtime that allows parents to remotely set hours when kids can’t use their devices.
“We are aware that some users may be experiencing an issue where Screen Time settings are unexpectedly reset,” a spokesperson told the WSJ. “We take these reports very seriously and we have been, and will continue, making updates to improve the situation.”
Parents checking the feature have found that scheduled times have either reverted to older settings or been removed altogether — allowing kids to use their devices at will. One user changed his passcode to be sure his kids hadn’t guessed it, but found he needed to reset the feature “two or three times a week.” Suffice to say, kids don’t always report the issue in a timely fashion either. Around 2,300 people on an Apple discussion page on the subject said they experienced the same bug.
Apple knew about the issue before, but reported it fixed with the release of iOS 16.5 in May. However, WSJ reporters found the issue in subsequent releases and even in the iOS 17 beta.
Screen time was introduced in 2018 at Apple’s developer’s conference, allowing parents to remotely check their kid’s Activity Report and manage their app use time. They can also set a custom amount of time per app that kids can’t extend, or create a Downtime to block everything but selected software and phone calls for a set hourly range. Apple has yet to say when it will release a fix.
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