3-year-old locks dad's iPad for 48 years

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,186   +120
Staff member

It happened to me just over the weekend. I was trying to log into an old online service and entered the wrong password three times in a row. For my efforts, I was locked out of trying again for half an hour.

It’s a valid security measure designed to prevent brute force attacks but when it happens to you with an account or device you legitimately own, it can be rather annoying. Now imagine being notified that you’d have to wait a whopping 25,536,442 minutes – more than 48 years – to regain access to your gadget.

That’s exactly what happened to Evan Osnos, a staff writer at The New Yorker, over the weekend. Osnos noticed the message on his iPad after his 3-year-old had repeatedly tried to unlock the tablet. iOS devices include a security feature that locks them down after multiple failed unlock attempts. More time is added to the cooldown period as failed attempts accumulate.

Apple outlines a series of steps that can be taken if this happens to you. Unfortunately, it involves a system restore – if you never backed up your device, your data will be long gone.

Osnos on Tuesday said he managed to get into Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode and was in the process of restoring the iPad.

Lead image courtesy Maria Sbytova via Shutterstock

Permalink to story.



Posts: 3,836   +1,183
That scaled pretty quickly, I mean... for how long the toddler must have been trying to get a 48 years lockout?? This feels stupidly implemented, I'm pretty sure that's a good measure if you have been trying for consecutive weeks to unlock it but going from... a couple seconds, to a couple of minutes, to years doesn't sound sound whatsoever...

It's not like the toddler was a whole day unsupervised to try and keep trying to input passwords to get this much time, again, stupidly implemented.
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Posts: 2,650   +2,277
#1 Children are getting "digital autism" from spending too much time staring at these displays and not interacting with other children...or their own parents - who use these devices to babysit their kids rather than - you know - TALK TO THEM.

#2 I would NEVER entrust a kid to a toy below the recommended age level. Nor would I give them a device as expensive and expensive to repair as iPhone or iPad.

I will tell my children: WHEN YOU GET A JOB is when you can afford a smartphone.

If more of these useless parents did the same thing, these schools wouldn't be a series of warehoused ADHD with recorded fights for Facebook.

#3 I thought after too many attempts the device just erases itself? Mine does.

#4 What was this kid doing on an iPad that led to this and why didn't his "parents" notice?

I used "parents" with quotes because something tells me that CPS should be notified of neglect.
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Posts: 61   +44
Sure, he should have been more aware, but before we rant on how some s**t parents are for doing this, we all have different contexts for how this can happen. I have children of my own too and I also had my fair share of phone locks from time to time. One instance was simply leaving it charged next to me during bedtime and waking up to my 4 year old in our room and trying to unlock it.

As parents for kids in this generation of the digital world, every mishap is a learning experience.

But yea....if you buy your little kiddos these things just to shut them up or keep still, then yea.....youre a s**t parent. Hahaha


Posts: 1,762   +1,455
TechSpot Elite
Yeah, either fake (as from what I remember, you can't make another attempt until after the time's up. Doubt the kid waited years to get it up further), or Apple effed up on the code (allowing more attempts even if wrong, or scaled up stupidly high).
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Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,640   +1,444
Kids play. That's how they learn - even if they blow all the fuses in the house (poured water on a light bulb to see if it would put it out). My favorite was discovering a credit card (one of those fake promotion type cards) shoved into a 3.5" drive. Explanation was he had seen Mommy do it dozens of times at the grocery store and get bags full of stuff. He was wondering what he would get when he did it. **Parental Advice** When it gets quiet, CHECK!
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Posts: 400   +313
Back in the day my children had iPods (Touch). My son would do this to his sister to make her angry. He stopped when the wait time was around 2 - 4 hours
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Carlos GarPov

Posts: 69   +30
My ipad got locked for 2 weeks and I called apple for help and they said they couldnt do anything to help. That's preposterous, they have all the codes to break into the phones and they just dont eve TRY.
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Posts: 11   +8
I disagree, all my kids were on computers by the time they were 2, some with supervision, but mostly without. I had one late bloomer, he started when he was 3. Granted none of them have phones now except my oldest which he has bought with his own money and I never had an iPad when they were younger the youngest being 12 now. Just one parents opinion on the subject of kids and tech.
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