7-Year-Old Hacks Apple's Screen Time Restrictions

Redditor PropellerGuy’s 7-year-old son has cracked a way to bypass Screen Time, the new Apple iOS 12 feature that — among other things — is supposed to allow parents to set limitations to the time kids can spend in their tablets and phones.

Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

Screen Time allows parents to set specific time limits per apps. It is supposed to be password protected so children can’t tamper with parents’ decisions but, as this little kid found out, you can bypass that protection with a clever trick:

“When iOS 12 came out I limited my 7-year-old son’s screen time through the family share,” PropellerGuy tells in an Apple subreddit thread with 8.7K upvotes, “for a few days I felt like he was playing a bit more than he should, but I couldn’t figure out why.”

MORE: How to Use Screen Time in iOS 12

Three days ago, the kid finally confessed his hacking ways: whenever he ran out of screen time, he would go to the Apple store, download a previously removed game, and play it without limitations.

Since the game had been already installed, there’s no need to authorize the re-download. And since the game wasn’t in the system when the father set up Screen Time, it wasn’t bound by any time limit.

“I’m not even mad,” PropellerGuy says, “that’s impressive.” Indeed, it is.

The solution? Either set a permanent lockup or do as Redditor defjamblaster — the first commenter on the thread says — “I know my son is smarter than me. I just tell him to hand over the iPad the old fashioned way when it’s time for a break, just like the early settlers did.”

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.