Apple Finally Addresses Major Screen Time Vulnerability After Three Years

screentime limits disappearing February 2024 Featured

A major vulnerability in Apple’s Screen Time parental controls is finally being addressed. This bug allowed users, mostly children, to bypass restrictions and access inappropriate content on iPhones and iPads.

The security flaw involved a simple trick: entering a specific string of characters in the Safari address bar. And bam! It bypassed Screen Time’s web content filtering, giving users access to adult websites, violent content, and other restricted materials.

Here’s the kicker: Security researchers reported this issue to Apple multiple times over the past three years, but their reports were seemingly ignored. It wasn’t until a journalist, Joanna Stern, investigated the issue that Apple acknowledged the bug and promised a fix in the next software update.

Parents have reported other problems as well, including:

  • Screen Time limits designed to restrict app usage for a certain amount of time are easily bypassed.
  • Charts showing a child’s device usage can be inaccurate or blank.
  • Parents don’t always receive notifications for app download requests or time extensions.

Apple claims to have addressed many of these issues in recent updates. For many parents, Screen Time’s unreliability is a deal-breaker. Some are even considering switching to Android devices for better parental control options.

To adjust content restrictions, navigate to “Screen Time” -> “Content & Privacy Restrictions.” This lets you set your preferences for various apps, websites, and key system functionalities, including access to location services or the photo library.

For web content, devices can be restricted from accessing adult content through an automatic filter or a specifically approved list of websites.

All this exemplifies how major tech industries often do not seem to care about the general public until a well-known figure brings it up. This treatment is unfair to the general public.

Anyway, for now, the best you can do is keep your devices updated.

More here. (Paywalled)

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