Toddler runs amok and is shut out of phone until 2067

Toddler runs amok and is shut out of phone until 2067

We’ve all done it. Typed in the wrong code in your iPhone or iPad and found yourself shut out for a brief period. Well a user in America found to his dismay that after his three-year-old child had messed about with his iPad it shut him out for a staggering 25,536,442 minutes, approximately 48 years.

Of course, the disabled feature is welcome because it makes it difficult for potentially naughty players to gain access to your phone or iPad, but this seems to be taking it to the extreme.

Evan Osnos, a writer for the New Yorker found his iPad locked down after his kid had played with it. What he didn’t realise is there is no upper limit on how long a phone can be disabled.

Mr Osnos went to Twitter and pleaded for anyone who might have a solution to his dilemma as he didn’t really want to wait 48 years to get it back.

Uh, this looks fake but, alas, it’s our iPad today after 3-year-old tried (repeatedly) to unlock. Ideas?

- Evan Osnos: Twitter

And this being Twitter many rallied around with helpful advice although there were many who said best to just chuck the phone and get a new one. Eventually others came forward with better advise and it seems this is not so rare a problem than he first thought.

One such solution should be borne in mind if this ever happens to you. Welcome to the wonderful world of the DFU feature. DFU stands for Device Firmware Update, a sort of recovery mode.

DFU mode is often used as a last resort when troubleshooting your iPhone or iPad. Some have argued it is a better, more reliable option than recovery mode and can be performed to solve certain problems such as a phone’s refusal to start or is stuck in a restart loop.

Update on toddler-iPad-lock-out. Got into DFU mode (don’t hold down the sleep/power button too long or you end up in recovery). Now restoring. Thanks to those who shared.

- Evan Osnos: Twitter

So, a happy ending. But it begs the question just how many times did the toddler have to get the code wrong to register a 48-year lock-out? And why doesn’t Apple have a limit on the time you can be barred from the phone?

A salutary lesson for us all. So, tonight give your loved ones a big hug. No not the child your phone. You and it could be forced apart for a very long time indeed.


A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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