Facepalm: I've never quite understood the rationale in parents that let babies and toddlers play with expensive gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Stories like this help build a solid argument as to why that's not a great idea.

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