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Droves of children are figuring out creative ways to bypass Apple’s Screen Time feature

Please do not use this post as a how-to guide, kids.

Apple screen time
Image: Unsplash

Less than two weeks after the tool was introduced, kids have bypassed Apple’s Screen Time monitoring system for iOS. The workarounds were first noted by the British press and an extremely popular Reddit post.

Announced in June, Screen Time arrived with the iOS 12 update which launched earlier this month. The tool allows you to monitor and restrict your device usage for digital wellness purposes. Parents with a family iCloud account can also use the tool to limit device access to their children.

On Reddit, there are now over 9,000 comments on a post on how kids have bypassed the system.

One parent explains:

When iOS 12 came out I limited my 7-year old son’s screen time through the family share. For a few days I felt like he was playing a bit more than he should, but I couldn’t figure out why.

Finally today, my son revealed his hack: When he runs out of screen time and his games get locked, he heads to App Store, downloads a previously installed (but later removed) game through the cloud icon, and it works without limitations!

That’s not the only way around Screen Time

On Apple’s support forum, another parent said his son quickly found a way around Screen Time:

I was so excited to turn on the screen time restrictions in the new iOS. Until my 13 year old found a work around within 2 minutes of handing his phone back to him during ‘down time’ — he went to settings and changed the date/time of his phone to an unrestricted time and voila! Free screentime again.

Personally, my tech-savvy 11-year-old daughter was able to bypass Apple’s Screen Time feature on her iPad using the second method. One hour after she upgraded to iOS 12!

Screen time 9to5mac

Image: 9to5Mac

Although kids have found ways to bypass Screen Time, they haven’t figured out how to stop the tool’s monitoring feature. In other words, parents can still use the tool to see how much time kids are spending online. With that information, parents can still keep tracking of what they are doing.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on this discovery and will let you know if they respond.

Are you using Screen Time in iOS 12? Are your kids using any clever tricks to bypass the system? Let us know below. 

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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