Apple’s Screen Time bug continues to trouble parents on iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

Aug 3, 2023, 6:58 AM UTC
3 mins read
Apple's Screen Time bug continues to trouble parents on iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

Apple‘s iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 faced a bumpy road, with iPhone 14 and 14 Pro users being particularly affected. Although subsequent updates brought improvements, a new challenge has emerged for Apple. The tech giant has confirmed a significant problem plaguing all iPad and iPhone owners – an ongoing bug that compromises the effectiveness of its Screen Time feature. This parental control tool is designed to enable parents to manage their children’s device usage and ensure their safety while using iPhones and iPads. However, the current bug allows children to bypass time limits and access potentially unsafe content without their parent’s knowledge, raising concerns among users.

Apple introduced the Screen Time feature as part of iOS 12 in 2018. This native solution allowed parents to exercise better control over their children’s device usage, eliminating the need for third-party apps. By setting restrictions on device usage during specific times, imposing time limits on apps, and blocking inappropriate content, the Screen Time feature quickly became a critical tool for families to manage and monitor their children’s screen time habits. However, the recent bug is undermining the efficacy of this vital tool.

In response to the growing concern among parents, an Apple spokesperson addressed the problem in a conversation with The Wall Street Journal. Apple acknowledged the existence of an issue where Screen Time settings are unexpectedly reset, leading to disruptions in parental controls. The company expressed its seriousness regarding the matter and assured users that they are actively working on resolving the bug. Apple emphasized its commitment to making continuous updates to rectify the situation and restore the full functionality of the Screen Time feature.

We are aware that some users may be experiencing an issue where Screen Time settings are unexpectedly reset. We take these reports very seriously and we have been, and will continue, making updates to improve the situation,” said an Apple spokesperson.

Apple attempted to address a similar Screen Time settings issue in the past, releasing an update in May’s iOS 16.5. While this update brought hope to many parents, it appears that the fix hasn’t entirely resolved the problem. Numerous reports from concerned parents across forums and social media platforms suggest that the bug continues to persist on iPhones and iPads running iOS 16.6/iPadOS 16.6 releases, as well as the iOS 17/iPadOS 17 public betas.

The bug is not only frustrating for parents, but it also has serious implications for the safety and well-being of children using Apple devices. The bypassed time limits and content restrictions could lead children to access inappropriate content or spend excessive time on their devices, potentially impacting their mental health and overall development. As the Screen Time feature plays a pivotal role in mitigating these risks, the ongoing bug leaves parents feeling anxious and disheartened.

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Apple has yet to provide a specific timeline for the Screen Time bug’s resolution. However, with the imminent release of iOS 17, the pressure is mounting for Apple to address the issue promptly. The impending iOS 17 update will no longer support older devices, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, 5th-gen iPad, and first-gen iPad Pro. Therefore, it becomes crucial for the company to prioritize fixing the bug in iOS 16 to ensure that all compatible devices have a seamless Screen Time experience.

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