Apple confirms Screen Time bug in Parental Controls

Apple has admitted to a Screen Time bug that has parents upset.

According to The Wall Street Journal, parents have been complaining on Apple forums and Facebook groups that Screen Time settings aren’t “sticking,” meaning kids have had unlimited access to devices. Screen Time settings appear to reset to default mode even when changes have been made.

Screen Time, a feature within Apple’s cloud-based Family Sharing tool, allows parents to set up screen time limits and content and privacy restrictions across Apple devices. In those Screen Time settings, Downtime has been a useful tool that lets parents define how many hours each day their kids can use their device—either limiting their usage or making the device unusable. For busy parents, it’s a helpful way to ensure kids don’t spend too much time on devices and protect them from accessing inappropriate content. But it hasn’t been working.

Previously, Apple said it fixed the bug with an iOS 16.6 update, citing an issue with syncing across devices. But the bug has persisted even with the iOS 17 beta. One parent told WSJ that it took him three tries to change his child’s Downtime hours.

Apple issued a statement to the Journal, acknowledging the ongoing problem, saying “We take these reports very seriously and we have been, and will continue, making updates to improve the situation.” For now, frustrated parents are left with third-party apps to monitor devices or changing the restriction settings on each individual device.

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