Apple’s Screen Time feature is partially broken. While the initiative is good at reporting the screen usage times accurately, it’s failing on the restrictions part – where the Downtime tool is unable to enforce the usage time limits.
Thousands of parents reported this issue on Apple forums since affecting their children. While an official workaround is available, Apple said it’s working on the issue and may fix it in the upcoming update.
Allowing Kids For More Screen Time
Similar to what we have on Android, as Digital Wellbeing, Apple made a Screen Time feature to limit the excessive phone usage time on iOS. Added in 2018, Screen Time will allow parents in the family to limit the content their children can see on their iPhones and who they can communicate with via FaceTime or messages. Further, they can also choose which apps their kids can use and for how long.
Well, this feature is partially broken now, as many parents report that their kids are being allowed more time than what’s set. This was discovered after some parents found suspicious of their kids’ screen time limit – since they haven’t been receiving notifications despite usage for long hours.
And on checking the Downtime tool in Screen Time (an internal feature supposed to block additional screen time) – they found out the restrictions they’ve set were reverted back to a previously used schedule or haven’t been any limits!
Apple acknowledges the bug, as a spokeswoman said, “We are aware that some users may be experiencing an issue where Screen Time settings are unexpectedly reset. We take these reports very seriously, and we have been, and will continue, making updates to improve the situation.”
An Official Workaround
There are more than 2,300 posts about this issue on the Apple Community website, where for one user, Apple suggested a workaround as;
- Turn off Screen Time for the device needing to be blocked for downtime (child’s device).
- Ensure all pictures have synced with iCloud, or they will be lost (scroll to the bottom of the photos app to check if any are pending). Sign out of iCloud on all devices that can either approve screen time requests or have screen time limitations (child and parents).
- Reset the same devices.
(Do not erase content; just reset all settings by going to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset All Settings).
- Sign back into iCloud on all devices. Turn Screen Time around on and set new Downtime limits.
This should hopefully work. But if it doesn’t, you should wait for an official fix from Apple.