Apple Admits There’s A Bug In Screen Time Parental Controls
Apple have admitted that Screen Time controls have been failing parents, with the Family Sharing system designed for the remote scheduling of off-limits time and restricted apps/adult content for parents, experiencing issues.
“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.”
Downtime is used by parents to define hours limited/unusable each day on a device, however when checking the setting, parents are seeing the times scheduled revert back to a previous setting, or seeing no restrictions at all, having gone unnoticed for days or weeks.
Apple has previously acknowledged it, saying it was “an issue where Screen Time settings may reset or not sync across all devices.”
The company reported the issue was fixed with iOS 16.5, however with the new public beta of iOS 17, it’s still persistent.
Screen Time was introduced in 2018, promising an easy fix for parents device monitoring struggles, as no third party software was needed, and no messing with the router to shut off the internet. However, this persistent bug is causing many to switch to Android devices.
An Apple discussion page noted over 2,300 people experiencing the issue of Screen Time limits not sticking, with many parents complaining over social media, and emailing about it.
A workaround is to set screen limits directly on the children’s devices, however it can be annoying to do this for several kids, with some parents contacting Apple tech support multiple times.
Some representatives haven’t offered a fix, and some are suggesting a factory reset of the device and then restoring apps and data from a backup, however this only fixed the issue for a few days. Some parents have resorted to third party apps such as Qustodio, offering subscription based plans.
While this does work, parents say they shouldn’t have to spend money on third party solutions, when there is a system built into the device.
These problems have made some wonder whether they should switch to Android, and other noting Google’s Family Link parental controls haven’t suffered issues.